State insurance commissioner apologizes following reports of racial slurs

Apr 18, 2022, 9:46 AM | Updated: 9:55 am
Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler...
Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. (Office of the Insurance Commissioner)
(Office of the Insurance Commissioner)

Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler issued an apology on Monday, following a Sunday report from the Seattle Times detailing allegations over his use of racial slurs, and reaffirming previous claims he had mistreated staff.

According to sources who spoke to the Times, Kreidler had used derogatory terms for transgender people, as well as people of Japanese, Mexican, Chinese, Italian, and Spanish descent. That allegedly included one instance where Kreidler asked a woman interviewing for a position — and who was born in Hawaii of Japanese descent — “whether her great-grandparents came over to Hawaii to work on sugar plantations or pineapple plantations.”

On Monday, Kreidler issued his second public apology in as many months, stating that he was “sorry for any pain” he had caused.

“I’ve been in public office for more than four decades. During that time, society’s norms have steadily changed —and that’s a good thing. We should evolve and get better,” he wrote. “Unfortunately, sometimes my language has not kept up with those changes.”

“… I will be more careful with the words I use and will also continue to push the policies that lift people up and protect them against any injustices that remain in our society,” he continued. “I regret that public discussions of my word choices might leave any uncertainty about where I stand when it comes to protecting those who have historically been told they did not have a genuine place in our society.”

Kreidler had previously apologized in early March for his treatment of staff, following allegations in a report from the Northwest News Network claiming he had engaged in a pattern of abusive behavior.

State insurance commissioner issues apology following reports of abusive behavior

“I’m talking about meanness, deliberately cutting people down publicly to humiliate them, not letting bygones be bygones,” one employee had said.

Shortly after those allegations came to light, Kreidler expressed that he “must do better.”

“I care about everyone who works with me at the Office of the Insurance Commissioner,” he said at the time. “I deeply regret that some of my behavior and actions have taken attention away from the good work we do on behalf of insurance consumers. We hold each other to high standards, and I am not above those.”

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State insurance commissioner apologizes following reports of racial slurs