In response to mounting accusations against Young Americans for Liberty leadership for sexual impropriety and assault, Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) founder and board member Jeff Frazee has penned a second formal response through yaliberty.org.
The response was a sharp heel turn from the first, which boasted pride in his organization’s human resources practices and urged readers “to use appropriate channels to raise concerns, rather than attempt to malign the organization, its people, and principles.” You can read Frazee’s statement here.
The second response was more conciliatory and fleshed out than the first, and informs the public that a “… a full, independent investigation is underway”. What followed was a request for current and future accusers to contact YAL’s human resources representative, pledging both transparency and confidentiality as the investigation progresses.
Arguably the strongest reaction from YAL’s supervisory board was placing President Cliff Maloney and “VP of Grassroots” Justin Greiss on administrative leave from their positions pending the results of this investigation. Frazee then asks all current YAL supporters, members, and employees to “allow for due process to occur”, punctuating his message with a reassurance that he is committed to doing “what is right and necessary”. One can’t help but wonder where this commitment was in the absence of mounting controversy.
Across the pond, Taylor Hall, whose accusations were detailed in my previous post, has posted January 2018 communications between an unnamed person (who purports to be the first individual informed of the convention incident involving Maloney) and Frazee himself. The unnamed author seems to indicate a potential quid pro quo arrangement wherein Cliff attempted to buy his silence with a position within an outside organization. To quote the unnamed author to Jeff Frazee, “It seemed as though he was trying to get me to owe him something”. Frazee, who today postured himself as the guarantor of YAL’s “healing and rebuilding a culture of trust, safety, and accountability”, simply replied with “Thanks”.
Nothing further from this email chain is known to exist.
With Maloney and Griess temporarily ousted, Frazee, a founding member of the organization and the chairman of its highest board, presents an odd ethical question for YAL’s future; by all accounts he was informed, numerous times, about the activities of his organization’s now-derided president, but took no substantive action until today. Will his lack of accountability be under investigation as well?
Responses to YAL’s second formal statement are mixed, with some expressing gratitude, and other skepticism. To date, at least one high-ranking member of YAL staff, Maggie Anders (Regional Director), has resigned, echoing complaints of hostility towards those who lodge harassment complaints through YAL’s internal HR organ, alleging harassment from volunteers and staff.
My first post was intended to be a rundown on the YAL situation. In the closing statements of my second, I would like to pose what I believe to be a few well-founded questions in earnest:
- Why did Jeff Frazee decide to ignore complaints about Cliff Maloney until they were posted publicly, online?
- Will proper steps really be taken to censure bad actors within Young Americans for Liberty, even if they sit on the very top of its board?
- Was YAL leadership’s lackadaisical attitude towards sexual misconduct unique to YAL’s internal structure, or are other, similar organizations bound to follow?
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