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Senator Reynolds faces calls for resignation after responding to but not denying reports that she called “the lying cow.”

Defense Secretary Linda Reynolds faces possible legal action for calling Brittany Higgins a “lying cow” in her office for not publicly apologizing to her former employee

Senator Reynolds, who is currently on vacation, reportedly directed the comments to staff in her office after Ms. Higgins spoke about her alleged rape in the House of Parliament

Rebekah Giles, an attorney with reputational risk firm Company Giles who works for Ms. Higgins, confirmed to SBS News that Senator Reynolds received a legal notice to withdraw her comments and make a public apology

#Breaking: SBS can confirm that an attorney working for Brittany Higgins has asked Secretary of Defense Linda Reynolds to withdraw her comments and apologize publicly @SBSNews #auspol

“I appreciate that it was a stressful time, but that kind of behavior and language is never excusable,” she said Thursday

“It’s just further evidence of the toxic work culture that exists behind closed doors in the Parliament building”

Senator Reynolds reportedly made the comment on Jan. Starting February – the same day Ms. Higgins went public with allegations, she was raped by a male colleague in Senator Reynolds’ office in March 2019 when she was 24

Senator Reynolds faces calls for resignation after responding to the reports but not denying them

She reportedly made the comment in the open part of her office and it was heard by several staff members, including officers seconded from the Department of Defense

In a statement Wednesday night, Senator Reynolds made no specific reference to whether she had used the term in reference to Ms. Higgins

She said she “never questioned Ms. Higgins’ report of her alleged sexual assault and always tried to respect her agency”

“I did, however, comment on news reports of circumstances in the area that I thought were misrepresented,” she continued

“I have consistently respected Ms. Higgins’ agency and privacy and said this is her story and nobody else’s

“Ms. Higgins’ allegations are very serious and need to be addressed to ensure that her legal rights are protected. I applaud her decision to pursue this matter with the Australian Federal Police”

“She apologized to the staff for inappropriate comments long before they were made public,” he told reporters

“She deeply regrets it. The remarks were insulting. She should never have made them. I do not tolerate them. However, it is crucial that we continue to deal with the content of the subjects”

When a spokesman for Senator Reynolds was contacted by SBS News about possible legal action, he said, “The Minister has no further comment on the statement made last night”

Senator Reynolds had known of the alleged rape for more than two years but failed to inform Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who said he had only become aware of the allegations last month

Last week, Senator Reynolds was hospitalized with a pre-existing illness and forced to cancel a highly anticipated speech at the National Press Club – where she was expected to be pressured to deal with the alleged incident

If you or someone you know has been affected by family, domestic violence or sexual assault, call 1800RESPECT at 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECTorgau or call 000 in an emergency

Readers seeking mental health support can contact Beyond Blue at 1300 22 4636 For more information, visit Beyondblueorgau Embrace Multicultural Mental Health Supports People of Culturally and Linguistic Backgrounds

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Linda Reynolds

World News – AU – Linda Reynolds faces possible legal action over her “lying cow” comments on Brittany Higgins