NOW Endorses Brown, Wants Him To Fire Staffer Who Called Whitman A 'Whore'

10/13/2010 08:07 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

While calling a woman a "whore" isn't exactly the best way to win over the National Organization for Women, Democratic California gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown seems to have survived the Meg Whitman slur fiasco--and won the organization's endorsement.

In September, Brown forgot to hang up the phone after leaving a message with the Los Angeles Police Protective League--and a staffer was heard calling Republican candidate Whitman a "whore" on the recording. Despite the offensive language, NOW stood by Brown, according to a statement posted on their website Wednesday:

"Last night at the California gubernatorial debate, Jerry Brown apologized for a member of his campaign staff suggesting Meg Whitman, his opponent in the race, be called a "whore." This overdue apology was a necessary step; however, it was accompanied by an assertion that these sorts of comments are part and parcel of what happens inside political campaigns. If so, that needs to change."

"While our California chapter's Political Action Committee voted to endorse Brown on the basis of his support for women's rights, the National Organization for Women clearly and unequivocally condemns calling Meg Whitman, or any woman, a whore. This term is hate speech that carries with it negative connotations associated with women, and it has no place in contemporary society."

The organization then called for the firing of the staffer who used the foul language--which Brown said on Tuesday could be hard to do.

"This is a five-week-old private conversation picked up on a cellphone with a garbled transmission, very hard to detect who it is," Brown said during Tuesday's debate. "I don't want to get into the term and how it's used. But I'll say the campaign promptly apologized and I reaffirm that apology tonight."

One thing that could be preventing Brown from firing the offending staffer is a personal relationship. Fox News--citing an unnamed source--reported last week that his wife, Anne, used the slur against Whitman. Brown's campaign has not responded to this allegation.

Fortunately for Brown, protecting a woman's right to choose is more important to NOW than the slur:

"As Governor, Mayor, and Attorney General, Jerry Brown has promoted and defended women's rights," said California NOW President Patty Bellasalma in a statement. ". . . "Meg Whitman spent millions of dollars attacking a woman's right to choose during this campaign. Jerry Brown is the only candidate for Governor who we trust to protect a woman's right to choose."

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