President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump criticizes Justice for restoring McCabe's benefits Biden: Those who defy Jan. 6 subpoenas should be prosecuted Hillicon Valley — Presented by LookingGlass — Hackers are making big money MORE's pick for ambassador to the Bahamas, billionaire Doug Manchester, faced multiple complaints of inappropriate behavior from female employees at the San Diego Union-Tribune during his time as its owner, a new report reveals.
While Manchester has not faced allegations of sexual assault or harassment, more than a dozen current and former female employees told The Washington Post that the wealthy real estate developer made them uncomfortable at work.
After purchasing the newspaper in 2011, Manchester influenced the office culture in a way women said made the paper feel like a "boys club." Manchester frequently gave hugs to young women at the paper and complimented them on their looks.
The chief executive under Manchester, John Lynch, defended Manchester, describing the newspaper owner as "bigger-than-life" friendly and saying he "hugs everybody."
One woman even received a small financial settlement for her complaints of unwanted hugs from Manchester, and for unwanted texts from Lynch, which he has dismissed as opportunism.
Manchester, who asked employees to call him "Papa Doug," was reportedly also picky about women's appearances, requiring women on a new in-house TV project to wear short black dresses and, on one occasion, reportedly asked a TV host to dye her hair, according to the Post.
Jeff Light, the current publisher who was an executive editor at the time, called the TV programming "an embarrassment" and "chauvinistic," and said the staff was "repulsed by the sexist vibe of the programming."
Manchester said he was "very troubled" by the allegations, and told the Post he apologizes to "any employee who felt uncomfortable or demeaned" while they worked for the paper.
“I have never been accused of or sued for any kind of sexual misconduct,” Manchester said in an email sent to more than a dozen people as well as White House Officials. “I am terribly hurt to learn of these allegations and apologize to any employee who felt uncomfortable or demeaned while employed at the UT San Diego during my tenure.”
Trump nominated Manchester, who was an early supporter of the real estate mogul's campaign, in May and then renominated him in January after Congress missed a deadline for his confirmation. Both Manchester and his wife donated $454,800 to groups backing the Trump campaign.
Manchester also served as a Republican National Committee delegate for Trump in the summer of 2016.
Trump himself has faced allegations of sexual harassment and assault by multiple women, as well as recent revelations by two former adult-film stars who say they had an affair with the billionaire after his marriage to now first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpGOP leader's remarks on Fox underscore Trump's power White House orders release of Trump records to Jan. 6 committee Ex-Trump aide sues Grisham over abuse allegations MORE.