Charlotte council member accused of anti-gay harassment

Warren Turner thought employee was lesbian, said she needed a 'real man'

CHARLOTTE — At their meeting Monday night, City Council heard the results of an independent investigation into claims of sexual harassment by one of their members.

Turner

Turner

Attorney Valecia McDowell of the law firm Moore and Van Allen wrote the report in which City Councilman Warren Turner is accused of harassing four city employees since 2006.

One female employee said Turner had told her she needed a “real man.” Later, Turner admitted to fellow Councilman James Mitchell that he thought the employee was a lesbian.

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According to the report, Turner asked the employee about a picture of actor Shemar Moore on a mug in her office. The employee said the actor was her motivation.

“You don’t need that, I should be your motivation,” said Turner. “You need a real man to be your motivation!”

Turner then asked the employee where she went to school. When she replied, Turner told her: “See, that’s your problem right there: they don’t have any real men at those schools. Your real motivation is right here,” he said referring to himself.

When interviewed for the investigation Turner denied those accusations.

Later, Turner was introduced to the employee’s fiancé.

“The guy you introduced me to, did you say he was your fiancé,” Turner asked. “I need to know who would want to marry you! He needs to come and talk to me so I can give him advice on how to deal with you.”

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That evening, Turner spoke to Councilman Mitchell about the exchange.

“Council Member Turner further stated that he later spoke with Council Member Mitchell after that evening and told Council Member Mitchell he had been surprised to learn that Employee A had a fiancé because he thought that she was ‘gay,'” the report reads. “Council Member Mitchell confirmed Council Member Turner called him on the telephone following a town meeting and said he was surprised to learn Employee A had a fiancé. Council Member Mitchell also recalls that Council Member Turner said: ‘I thought she was a lesbian.'”

The employee has also alleged inappropriate touching by Turner.

Turner told local media he would not immediately comment on the allegations. qnotes attempted contacting Turner, but he was unavailable and his voicemail box was full.

Turner, a Democrat, represents the city’s third district. In his 2009 re-election bid, Turner failed to return a candidate questionnaire from the Mecklenburg Gay and Lesbian Political Action Committee (MeckPAC). The organization did not endorse him.

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Posted by Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.