Ford CEO Apologizes for 'Decades of Sexual Harassment'

Ford Motor CEO Jim Hackett apologized for what he called "gut-wrenching" accounts of sexual harassment at two of its Chicago plants, as documented this week by the New York Times.

In a letter sent Thursday to employees, Hackett said the car manufacturer will not tolerate any form of harassment, nor will it allow retaliation against workers who report it.

"We don't want you here, and we will move you out for engaging in behavior like this," Hackett wrote of potential perpetrators.

His apology comes on the heels of a NYT report exposing the way women workers have been treated at the plant since they first began working at its Chicago Assembly Plant in the late 1970s.

The report detailed instances in which crude comments were said by male workers about female workers' breasts and buttocks, graffiti of penises carved into tables and spray painted on floors, as well as accounts of physical assault.

Women also claimed that complaining would subject them to retaliation from colleagues, who told them to watch their backs or had their tires slashed.

Despite Hackett's outrage, this wasn't the first time women at Ford factories have come forward alleging similar complaints. The company previously paid a $10-million settlement after the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission presented complaints of sexual and racial harassment.

“Most importantly, I want to take this opportunity to say that I am sorry for any instance where a colleague was subjected to harassment or discriminatory conduct. On behalf of myself and the employees of Ford Motor Company, who condemn such behavior and regret any harassment as much as I do, I apologize. More importantly, I promise that we will learn from this and we will do better,” he continued.

Hackett himself has not been accused of any wrongdoing; the harassment cases date back years, while he only became CEO in May.

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Hackett pledged to visit the Chicago sites following the holiday season “to let them know that when they leave for work in the morning, they and their families can expect that they are coming to an environment that is safe, respectful and motivating them to do the best job possible,” he concluded.

Ford Motor Company employs more than 200,000.