John Key has apologized after woman who works at an Auckland cafe claimed that the prime minister of New Zealand pulled her hair on several occasions.
In an anonymous post published on The Daily Blog, a left-wing website, the waitress said that the premier’s odd behavior began during last year's election season in November.
Initially, she thought Key was trying to be "playful and jolly,” however, when the pulling of hair became frequent, she expressed her displeasure and even told his security to tell him to stop or she would hit him. She adding she was driven to tears by the tugging.
"He was like the schoolyard bully tugging on the little girls' hair trying to get a reaction, experiencing that feeling of power," the unnamed woman stated. "I really didn't like it. I felt powerless and tormented and I stepped out the back and I cried frustrated tears."
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Key’s actions have prompted a lot of criticism. Metiria Turei, a New Zealand member of Parliament and the female co-leader of the Green Party, said the prime minister’s actions raised questions about workplace bullying.
"As politicians our job is to make people feel safe at work, not bullied... We should expect higher standards of behavior from our prime minister, not this weird hair-pulling," she told The New Zealand Herald.
John Key! Stop embarrassing us in front of the other countries!! #ponytailgate— Alessandra Rachael (@AlessandraRach) April 22, 2015
The prime minister’s office issued an official apology saying the tugging was meant to be light-hearted.
"It was never his intention to make her feel uncomfortable and he has apologized to her," the statement read.
It’s not the first time Key has been involved in such a controversy. Just last December, Key was accused of making light of domestic violence after being photographed at the Edge radio station wearing a T-shirt with the slogan “I’m not sorry for being a man”.