Stanley, Shnelvar Address Flap over Offensive Joke
[Editor's note: Ralph Shnelvar made an offensive joke at a gun show. A woman complained. Rick Stanley took up the issue and criticized Shnelvar. Shnelvar apologized. Stanley and the woman accepted Shnelvar's apology. Below is a press release from Stanley and a public apology from Shnelvar. I have put this information on the web page for two main reasons. First, it is of some historical value. Perhaps candidates in the future can learn from this. Second, I think it's better for those interested to have access to the full story rather than have to rely on rumors. Stanley's comment, "I believe that Ralph Shnelvar, John Bernston, and others are purposely sabotaging the Libertarian Party for other than a Libertarian agenda," is wholly without merit. -- Ari Armstrong, September 12, 2002]
THE STANLEY SCOOP - Keeping Colorado Informed
Subject: Ralph Shnelvar Governor Candidate Libertarian Party
Rick Stanley, US Senate Candidate for the Colorado Libertarian Party made the following statement to the media:
Rebecca L. called the Old Party Headquarters phone number to register a complaint of Sexual Harassment about Libertarian Governor Candidate, Ralph Shnelvar earlier this week. I contacted John Bernston, the Chair of the Colorado State Party Board of Directors, and he would not return my call regarding this matter. I was than contacted again many times by Rebecca L. in discussion about this issue. She finally informed me that the Chairman of the Libertarian Party in Colorado was not going to take any action in this matter. Not having the courtesy of a return call from John Bernston, and having no other recourse, and Rebecca L. having come to me for recourse in this matter, I have decided to take Rebecca L.'s statement and forward to the media, for dissemination. I have been in receipt of e-mails from Party members also alleging Sexual Harassment from Ralph Shnelvar, and with this complaint from Rebecca L. feel compelled to bring it into the open, so that it can be dealt with by the media, the Libertarian Party, and the public, since the Colorado Libertarian Board will not answer the complaint.
I wish to say that Ralph Shnelvar has many witnesses of this alleged conduct now, in and out of the Libertarian Party, and I do not condone sexual harassment of anyone. The incidents are apparently ongoing and each woman has not solicited attention from Ralph Schnelvar. I don't think that we as a Libertarian Party can ignore the issue, and I feel compelled to bring it forward, since the Chairman of the Colorado Libertarian Party deemed it unworthy to follow through with a Board Inquiry. Ralph Shnelvar publicly said that his Campaign has nothing to do with the Stanley Campaign, and I would like for the Media to take note of that fact, as I concur.
I have been telling the Libertarian Party that our Chairman does not have a Libertarian Agenda for over a year now, and called for the State Board to remove him last month, for ineffective leadership and failure to release funds from the State Party for outreach and for Campaigns. An outreach director resigned over this issue. I was unable to convince other Board Members of Bernston's agenda and failed to get them to consider the issue. Shortly thereafter, Ralph Shnelvar and other Party members initiated charges against me, with the State Board which were designed to discredit my campaign and shed Stanley in a bad light with the media. This same group was unsuccesful in nominating their own Candidate at the Convention in May, and I was Nominated as the US Senate Candidate. They were unsuccesful in decertifying the Stanley Campaign at that meeting. I believe that Ralph Shnelvar, John Bernston , and others are purposely sabotaging the Libertarian Party for other than a Libertarian agenda. I believe that Ralph Shnelvar is doing this Sexual Harassment with women, to purposely discredit Libertarians and the Campaigns, as was the unsuccessful charges made at the Special Board meeting last week. I can come to no other conclusion after a year of incidents aimed at making Libertarian outreach and Campaigns ineffective.
You may contact Rebecca L. at her e-mail address and she will contact you back with her phone number or you may call me to get the number. Regarding the e-mails, that I mentioned, I have some of them archived and can release them if the media will promise no names will be used in articles printed. You can also e-mail these people for verification.
Once again, the Libertarian Party represented by Rick Stanley, does not condone this type of behavior and do not believe that any woman should be subjected to this type of behavior, from a Libertarian Governor Candidate, by the name of Ralph Shnelvar.
September 5, 2002
Dear Ms. Levi:
I want to apologize, again.
My conduct was crude, crass, and unjustified. My comment would be unacceptable for someone seeking the office of third assistant dog catcher much less someone seeking to be governor.
As you noted in your email, I ran after you and said, "May I humbly apologize, Rebekah?" You told Rick Stanley that you saw in my eyes that I felt terrible for having made that stupid remark to you.
You did not accept that apology. I knew that what I said was wrong then and I know that it is wrong now.
I agree with Rick Stanley: This Party does not condone the sexual harassment of anyone.
I truly apologize that you have taken my question - this very lame joke - as sexual harassment. I meant it as a joke and not as an insult or an invitation. I was hoping for some light banter between us after the heavy conversation about how freedom is slipping away.
The idea that I would ask a total stranger how much she would charge to be a stripper at a governor's inaugural ball was, to my mind at the time, so outrageous that it could only be taken as a joke. Further, as you pointed out, there were two men there who heard me say it. I did not say it behind your back nor did I say it to you alone. I was trying to engage you in some humorous conversation.
Whether it should have been taken as a joke or not, it was totally inappropriate for me to have said it. I am sorry. I am sorry. I am sorry.
I have promised my Party and I will promise you that any and all sexual jokes and innuendos will be expunged from any interaction with the public that I will have.
I cannot do more than apologize profusely and reform.