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Woody Johnson made 'inappropriate or insensitive comments,' according to IG report

United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom Woody

United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom Woody Johnson arrives to attend the annual Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey in London on March 9. Credit: AP/Kirsty Wigglesworth

The U.S. State Department found that Jets owner and U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom Robert Woody Johnson “sometimes made inappropriate or insensitive comments on topics generally considered Equal Employment Opportunity-sensitive, such as religion, sex, or color.”

The Office of the Inspector General conducted the investigation and released the findings of its report on Wednesday. The inspector general is calling for a “more thorough review” and recommended “appropriate action” be taken based on the findings.

The findings of the 39-page report came from interviews and questionnaires with embassy employees. The inspector general did not cite specific examples of Johnson’s misconduct.

State Department officials replied to the watchdog office that no further investigation is necessary because Johnson is “well aware of his responsibility to set the right tone for his mission,” according to the report.

CNN reported last month that Johnson was under investigation for making insensitive remarks that were considered racist or sexist. Johnson issued a strong statement of denial at the time. The State Department report includes another strong denial from Johnson.

“During my tenure as U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom and indeed for the entirety of my professional life, I have respected both the law and the spirit of EEO principles and have ensured that all employees under my direction do the same,” Johnson said. “If I have unintentionally offended anyone in the execution of my duties, I deeply regret that, but I do not accept that I have treated employees with disrespect or discriminated in any way.

“My objective is to lead the highly talented team at Mission UK to execute the President’s policies and to do so in a way that is respectful of our differences, with zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind.”

Johnson also said that due to the concerns documented in the watchdog report, “perceived or real” he reviewed a course on discrimination in the workplace, and had his entire office do the same. He also mentioned that no “official complaints were filed against me during his three-year tenure” as ambassador.

President Donald Trump appointed Johnson to his current post in August 2017. He gave up the day-to-day operations of running the Jets to his younger brother, Christopher Johnson.

The NFL has not issued any comment.

New York Sports