Sen. Heitkamp takes ownership of ad mishap, victims speak out

Published: Oct. 16, 2018 at 10:33 PM CDT
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“This is a horrible mistake that i take complete and total responsibility for,” said Senator Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D.

Heidi Heitkamp is taking ownership over a campaign misstep tonight, but says the staffer responsible is no longer with her campaign.

The Ad was published by the Heidi Heitkamp campaign over the weekend in several newspapers across the state.

Heitkamp says the ad was meant as an open letter to her republican challenger for the U.S. Senate race in response to a comment he made in a "New York Times", article... Calling the "me too" movement a movement toward victimization.

More than 100 victims’ names and cities they're from were published.

Your Election Leader spoke with many victims who say they're not only upset about the breach of privacy but they're afraid for their lives.

This Ad was published on several newspapers across North Dakota.

We have blurred the victims names for their protection.

"I just really wish that this wouldn't have happened just because, you know, I obviously didn't want my name out there," said Eve Lancaster, a survivor named in ad

"None of us even knew about it until late last night or early this morning and like I said I dont know what Heidi is gonna do this to retract this but a simple apology over the phone isn’t going to cut it for most of us I don't think," said one of the victims who was named in the Ad without her consent.

Heitkamp took responsibility at a campaign event Thursday.

"No one should be, have their name on an ad, unless, like that, unless they've absolutely given permission," said Heitkamp.

Many taking to social media claiming their names were published on this ad without their consent. One victim in her twenties says this all started after she was tagged in a post that she never responded to asking for women to initial Heitkamp's letter to Congressman Cramer.

Victim: "Some of the woman that were put on the list, their names on the list are spelled exactly how their names are on Facebook. It's not actually how they're spelled in person. So I know these names came strictly from Facebook. "

"The person who was responsible, no longer, who was a part of that gathering is not with the campaign anymore," said Heitkamp.

But, that still doesn't change things for victims who are afraid for their safety because of this situation.

Victim: "There are people that I'm in hiding from when these actions happened to me when I was a teenager. My name being blasted out there, you know especially I didn't realize this until this morning that the town that I live in was also posted on this."

Several victims say they feel humiliated and hurt.

Many say they are looking into seeking legal action against Heitkamp.

Heitkamp says she’s not going to think about the potential for legal actions at this point. Her main focus is figuring out how to fix this.