Harold Ford Jr. in Memphis at an NAACP event earlier this year
The epidemic of forced departures from positions of influence of persons accused of sexual harassment has now affected a prominent Memphis native — former 9th District Democratic Congressman Harold Ford Jr., who has been fired from his position as a managing director and rainmaker at the Wall Street firm of Morgan Stanley.
Ford’s ouster for alleged “misconduct” with an unidentified woman was announced Thursday via an email from the New York brokerage, where Ford, a near winner in the 2006 U.S. Senate contest in Tennessee, has worked in recent years.
He had meanwhile been keeping his political irons hot as a frequent guest commentator on the NBC “Morning Joe” program and in other venues, like a continuing role as lecturer at the Gerald Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan, the former congressman’s alma mater.
There was no immediate announcement from NBC as to Ford’s fate going forward, though another “Morning Joe” regular, Mark Halperin, was dropped from the program after incurring similar charges.
Before the advent of Barack Obama on the national scene, Ford, who was a congressman from 1997 to 2007 in the seat held previous by his namesake father, was considered by some to have a chance to become the first African-American presidential candidate. After his narrow loss to Republican Bob Corker in the 2006 Senate race, Ford served a spell as chairman of the now defunct Democratic Leadership Council and taught at Vanderbilt University.
While he was unsuccessful in an effort some years back to kindle support for a Senate race in New York, where he moved after assuming his Wall Srteet position, close friends and confidants have made it clear that he would welcome a return to politics.
The announcement of Ford’s termination from Morgan Stanley said, “He has been terminated for conduct inconsistent with our values and in violation of our policies,”
The Huffington Post website published accounts
of its interviews with the woman whose accusations against Ford, who is married and has two children, resulted in his current predicament.
The women, identified as a professional acquaintance, contended that Ford had forcibly grabbed her on one occasion and persistently pursued a relationship with her thereafter, finally ceasing at the woman’s insistence.
Ford denied the allegations in a Tweet early Thursday afternoon.