By Hanna Bogorowski
Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont is reportedly looking to recruit the media production company used by New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as speculation regarding Sanders’ second run for the presidency heats up.
Sanders is in talks with Means of Production, the filmmaking cooperative of media professionals that launched Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign into the limelight, Politico reported, according to multiple people familiar with Sanders’ team.
Sanders has also secured Tim Tagaris and Robin Curran from his 2016 team who were integral in his grassroots, record-breaking small-dollar donations campaign, should he decide to run for president in 2020.
Naomi Burton and Nick Hayes, two Democratic Socialists, launched Means of Production in 2018 as “an ideologically oriented, leftist production cooperative creating high-end affordable video.”
Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign ad, which Means of Production released a month after reaching out to then-candidate Ocasio-Cortez via Twitter, has garnered nearly 4.6 million views on Twitter and YouTube.
It's time for a New York that works for all of us.
On June 26th, we can make it happen – but only if we have the #CourageToChange.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 30, 2018
Burton told Politico that the company would create “big, beautiful ads” and “drumbeat” content for Sanders, should he decide to run again in 2020.
“We have certainly been talking with his team,” Burton said. “He’s the only candidate we would work for.”
The staffing additions come after a December report in The New York Times which signaled a potential employee challenge for the Vermont senator, saying that former employees may be jumping ship for younger, fresher candidates.
Allegations regarding the mistreatment of women on his 2016 campaign are also surfacing and resurfacing as his bid receives more attention.
After over two dozen former campaign workers wrote a letter obtained in December asking to meet with Sanders to discuss the rampant “sexual violence and harassment” his employees faced on the campaign trail, a Jan. 2 report in The New York Times has forced Sanders to respond.
The Times report offers detailed examples of harassment as well as pay disparities present in Sanders’ campaign, including women being asked to sleep in make-shift living accommodations with male campaign workers they’d never met.
“There was an entire wave of rotten sexual harassment that seemingly was never dealt with,” one former Sanders delegate said in an email to one of Sanders’ political strategists.
Sanders responded on CNN with Anderson Cooper, suggesting that he was “a little bit busy running around the country, trying to make the case,” and it’s unclear whether he was aware of the complaints and allegations.
“I’m not going to sit here and tell you that we did everything right in terms of human resources, in terms of addressing the needs that I’m hearing from now that women felt disrespected, that there was sexual harassment which was not dealt with as effectively as possible,” he said.
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