COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Complaints are piling up against Representative Elliot Forhan (D-South Euclid), including a 20-page document laying out what ultimately prompted Democratic leadership to send him a letter, strip the representative of his committee assignments and instruct him not to contact staff.
Forhan started his first term at the statehouse less than a year ago and the document said “hostility, profanity and dangerous, violent remarks have unfortunately been the hallmark,” of his tenure.
According to the document, complaints started in the spring, citing “inappropriate interactions with members of the public and organizations within his community.”
It says around June, less than 6 months into his time as a legislator, it was, “generally known by staff and members that Forhan would resort to screaming, vulgarity and threats if he sensed he was not getting his way.” It says those included threats to take his own life, or challenging others to kill him.
The most recent complaints are about the representative’s response to the Israel-Palestine conflict.
On November 14, the document said young House staff expressed concern about an Israeli flag he had outside his office; he was asked to take it in his office. The document says, “Forhan quickly agreed, then backtracked, saying the staff who expressed concerns should come talk to him about his nuanced views.” He posted a video on social media in response:
The document says a day later, when a representative noted to him his recent social media posts targeted a staff member, the document said Forhan began screaming.
“Forhan continued to yell at the representative, who is Muslim, about the number of children being killed by Israel, implying he was the only one doing anything about it,” the document read. “At this point, another staffer had entered and exited the room and was so alarmed by Forhan’s behavior that the staffer reported it to senior staff and member leadership.”
After that November 15 altercation, the document says three representatives asked to speak with Forhan in another room, and Forhan agreed. The document then said the representatives asked Forhan what he felt he could do to improve the situation.
“Forhan became even more belligerent, yelling at [a representative] to ‘punch me in the face,’ ‘just do it,” the document read.
In a statement, responding to Leader Russo’s letter, Forhan said, ”It’s unfortunate but I am not going to back down from defending Israel.”
NBC4 asked him if he had a response to the alleged ‘pattern of harassment, hostility and intimidation,” which the document said started in late May. He doubled down on his original statement.
“I don’t know what else I can say other than I am not going to stop standing up for Israel,” Forhan wrote.
In the document, House Democratic leadership said they did try to mediate the situation multiple times and provided Forhan with employee assistance program resources.
NBC4 reached out to House minority leadership for an interview. They said the letter speaks for itself.