The Brandy Brooks Scandal Explained

Montgomery County Council Candidate Brandy Brooks is under fire after a campaign staffer accused her of sexual harassment

Embattled Montgomery County Council candidate Brandy Brooks isn’t backing down after a former campaign staffer accused Brooks of sexual harassment.

The staffer quit the Brooks campaign in March 2022 after reporting Brandy Brooks’ behavior to her campaign manager.

According to Ms. Brooks’ initial statement, the staffer accused her of creating a “hostile workplace environment.”

Brandy Brooks took a two-week period to “self-reflect” on the incident.

And Brandy Brooks is back in the race.

She has yet to address the credible sexual harassment allegations.

Brooks is Back on the Campaign Trail 

Brooks suspended her campaign for two weeks.

The two-week period is over, and Brooks is back on the campaign trail.

Here’s what the Washington Post reported on April 25:

“Virginia Onley, co-chair of her campaign, emphasized that there are ‘absolutely’ no plans for Brooks to drop out of the At-Large council race, where eight Democrats and three Republicans are vying for four seats.

Once Brooks wraps up her self-declared period of reflection, ‘we’re going to hit the ground running,’ Onley said.”

Did Brandy Brooks suspend her Montgomery County Council campaign?

No, Brandy Brooks “self-reflected” after her now-former campaign staffer accused her of sexual harassment.

Did any of Brandy Brooks’ campaign staffers quit? 

It’s unclear whether any of Brandy Brooks’ campaign staffers quit.

But the Post reported that several of her “closest advisers and supporters recently resigned from her campaign.

Some have urged Brooks to withdraw from the race.

Are the sexual harassment allegations against Brandy Brooks credible?

Yes, the sexual harassment allegations against Brandy Brooks are credible. 

How do we know the sexual harassment allegations are credible?

Ms. Brooks admitted that she acted inappropriately with her former campaign staffer.

The Brandy Brooks scandal backstory 

Brandy Brooks’ campaign staffer approached Brooks’ campaign manager in March 2022 with a sexual harassment complaint against Brooks.

The former staffer said Brooks sent inappropriate late-night text messages and later expressed romantic and sexual feelings at a Rockville Chiptole.

The former Brandy Brooks staffer spoke to the Washington Post earlier in April 2022 on a condition of anonymity to protect their identity.

According to her former staffer, Brandy Brooks pressured them into having an intimate relationship. 

But the staffer wasn’t interested in having an intimate, sexual relationship with their boss.

So the staffer filed a complaint with Brandy Brooks’ campaign manager, Michelle Whittaker.

Michelle Whittaker is Brandy Brooks’ sister.

The Brooks campaign launched an investigation.

Brooks said her campaign team “immediately” took the following measures, according to an April 2022 public statement:

  • The campaign paused all contact and communication between the accusing campaign staffer and Ms. Brooks.
  •  Brooks and the accusing campaign staffer entered into formal mediation to address the staffers’ allegation(s).

Was Brandy Brooks’ formal workplace mediation successful? 

Not really.

A neutral third party moderated the mediation agreement.

Brooks made some concessions and agreed to the following: 

  • Brooks should explain why the employee left her campaign.
  • And Brooks agreed to read an “accountability statement,” approved by the campaign staffer, in which Brooks admits that she sexually harassed them in January 2022.
  • Brooks read her statement at a closed-door meeting on March 26, 2022.

So, how did all of that turn out for all parties involved in the scandal? 

The mediation was unsuccessful.

Now Brooks is victim-blaming. 

She claims that “increasingly inaccurate and malicious reports” about her’ behavior have spread throughout the community, accusing her former campaign staffer of violating their mediation agreement.

The former campaign staffer said they hope Brandy Brooks will issue a “genuine apology” to supporters and campaign staff.

Can Brandy Brooks release the content of the complaint? 

Through Twitter, a Montgomery County citizen requested that Brooks share the accusing campaign staffer’s complaint and a copy of their mediated agreement.

But personnel matters are seldom made available for public consumption.

“That information is confidential and cannot be shared at this time,” Brooks responded.

What is Workplace Mediation?

“Workplace mediation involves a voluntary and confidential discussion between those involved in the conflict, which is facilitated by an impartial mediator,” according to WorkLogic.com.

This Australian-based company consults with professional organizations to help identify, prevent and resolve workplace misconduct and conflict.

“The goal of workplace mediation is for participants to resolve the dispute themselves, by making an informed decision that everyone can live with. The mediator will not impose an outcome, and a resolution will not be required or forced on the participants.

Even if the participants cannot resolve the dispute through the mediation process, they should gain a better understanding of each other’s concerns and perspectives and an improved understanding of the reasons behind the conflict that has arisen.”

WorkLogic.com lists some critical benefits of workplace mediation:

  • “Mediation provides an early intervention that enables the participants to address issues between them before matters escalate or deteriorate further;
  • Mediation is confidential and private and can be done within a relatively short timeframe;
  • Mediation participants have a voice and a safe forum to vent, clear the air and express their perspectives;
  • Past actions are explored and participants have the opportunity to understand the source of the conflict that’s arisen but it’s also future-focused, insofar as any agreement reached can provide a framework for an ongoing relationship.
  • Mediation is an empowering process in which the participants are given agency and responsibility for their own outcomes. Consequently, they are invested and any outcome or resolution reached is not imposed on them;
  • The organization sends a clear message that it takes the matter seriously and wants to invest in assisting the participants to navigate a way forward or restore their damaged relationships.”

The Brandy Brooks Scandal in the Media 

Bethesda Beat 

Here’s what we learned from Bethesda Beat’s interview with Brandy Brooks and her campaign staff: 

“Brooks declined to go into more detail about the conflict or identify the staffer. She said she is willing to work further through mediation if the staffer requested it.”

And the staffer who complained about Brooks is no longer working for Brooks’ County Council campaign.

Seventh State Blog 

David Lublin, so far, has provided the most in-depth coverage of the emerging Brandy Brooks scandal.

Mr. Lublin reported on April 13 that the “Jews United for Justice Campaign Fund” is suspending its support for Brandy Brooks’ campaign.

What does it mean for an organization to “suspend” a candidate endorsement? 

Could Jews United for Justice unsuspend its Brooks endorsement if, somehow, the incident resolves itself?

Jews United for Justice Executive Director Jacob Feinspan wrote that the organization is “deeply concerned to learn about the report of misconduct.”

Jews for Justice suspending support for Brandy Brooks' campaign

Seventh State, on April 14, did some additional reporting.

Mr. Lublin wrote this:

“While stating that she seeks “to be as transparent as possible” and decrying “increasingly inaccurate and malicious reports,” Brooks’s campaign has not disclosed more information about the matter.

Campaign Manager Michelle Whittaker let me know via email that she disagreed with my post, stating that Brooks “has suspended her campaign.”

The Brooks campaign has bills to pay – and they need cash and donors.

Suspending a campaign, now, especially, would not inspire donors to open their checkbooks.

Lublin later articulated the Brooks campaign’s precarious  financial position:

“The campaign has been plagued by rumors regarding its high burn rate—campaign argot for spending money fast—and that it doesn’t have enough left for printing and sending campaign mailers and other forms of voter contact as the primary approaches.

Brooks’s most recent campaign finance filing on February 15 reported $55,227.76 in the bank—significantly below what is normally needed for a viable countywide campaign.”

Lublin goes on:

“Nothing in the media, printing, or postage sections of the January or February filings indicate that the Brooks campaign has prepaid for mailers or much other media.

She reported spending a total of $1,803.21 on Facebook ads.

According to these two most recent filings, 61% of $47,178.07 in expenditures were on salaries and other compensation.

Payments to MCW Creative, Michelle Whittaker’s company, accounted for $7,550.00, or 16%, of the total spent on salaries and other compensation.

Besides being Brooks’s campaign manager and a communications professional, Whittaker is also her sister.”

Is Brandy Brooks losing endorsements? 

Yes, Brandy Brooks is losing prominent endorsements from progressive organizations.

As of May 5, 2022, the Montgomery County Teachers Association yanked its endorsement of Brooks and shifted its support to Council President Gabe Albornoz.

The Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America previously endorsed Brandy Brooks for County Council.

The organization revoked its endorsement of Brooks’ campaign.

On April 14, the local DSA chapter released a damning statement that condemned Brooks over “credible allegations of persistent sexual harassment.”

Persistent sexual harassment.

Here’s the Metro D.C. DSA’s statement:

“This past weekend, the Metro D.C. DSA Steering Committee was made aware of credible allegations of persistent sexual harassment by endorsed candidate Brandy Brooks towards one of her employees.

We were also informed that she had walked back the internal accountability process laid out by the campaign.

Out of respect for the privacy for those who informed us, and in accordance with mediated agreements, we cannot provide additional detail, but want to affirm that the evidence gave us significant concern. 

Given the close relationships we developed over many years with members of Brandy’s campaign team, including Brandy herself, we are not taking these allegations lightly and are moving deliberately in consultation with others in our community.

At the request of individuals who came forward, we met with Brandy to discuss these allegations and give her a chance to respond.

Brandy attended our Steering Committee meeting on Tuesday, 4/12, three days after we were informed.

In that meeting, we heard from her and outlined two different accountability processes within our chapter. Both of these processes would require public discussion or votes from either the Steering Committee or the Chapter as a whole.

At no point did she deny the allegations against her.

We believe that there needs to be a process of healing and accountability.

That’s why we’re disappointed to now see her twist the language of abolition and restorative justice to try to deflect from her actions.

Her behavior indicates a fracture from the values that we hold and that we expect from both a member and an endorsed candidate.

In response to the allegations of harassment, chapter members from Montgomery County have submitted a resolution to revoke Metro D.C. DSA’s endorsement of Brandy Brooks and members will have the opportunity to discuss and vote on it in the near future.

In the immediate term as this process is ongoing, we will be suspending all chapter activities in support of the Brandy Brooks campaign.

Can Brandy Brooks survive this scandal? 

That depends on whether Montogmery County voters could see clear of overlooking the credible sexual harassment allegations against Brooks.

These days, the so-called “rules” aren’t applied equally.

Everything Brandy Brooks says and does moving forward is likely to fall under additional scrutiny.

Where is the Montgomery County Women’s Democratic Club on the Brandy Brooks scandal? 

Cancel Culture 

Ms. Brooks is politically on the far-left (or the progressive left).

The “woke left” has no tolerance for forgiveness and redemption; they cancel their political opponents.

What’s due process, you ask?

Due process doesn’t exist in cancel culture.

Facts don’t matter to the cancel culture crew.

Cancel culture destroys somebody so severely that they cannot recover – personally and professionally.

Nothing else matters to the woke left.

If you make a mistake and apologize, too bad

Cancel culture ruins lives and families.

What is their obsession with canceling people before having all the facts?

Is it a cheap thrill?

It doesn’t matter whether allegations are credible or not. The cancel culture brigade needs no reason.

Mista

Poof! You’re gone.

Brandy Brooks Should Cancel Herself 

How would Brandy Brooks respond in the same instance if the accused was:

  • Republican?
  • Male?
  • Just add whatever demographic you want.

You know what Brandy Brooks would do.

The hypocrisy is disgusting.

Ryan Miner Administrator
Ryan Miner is Editor & Founder of A Miner Detail, a Maryland Politics Blog.