California Lawmaker Banned From Hugging Colleagues

A California state lawmaker sometimes called “Huggy Bear” for his habit of embracing colleagues has been ordered to abandon the practice after an investigation found his hugs were alienating colleagues. Sen. Bob Hertzberg, a Democrat from the Los Angeles area, received a formal reprimand from the state senate’s rules committee Thursday and was told he would face discipline if he persists in hugging colleagues. An investigation covering four complaints against Hertzberg going back to 2010 found that his hugs were not intended as sexual advances, but that the frequent and sometimes prolonged embraces made both women and men uncomfortable. Hertzberg, who has also reportedly been dubbed “Hugsberg” for his overly friendly greetings, has apologized for his behavior, but said the hugs were only meant as “a gesture of warmth and kindness.” “I understand that I cannot control how a hug is received, and that not everyone has the ability to speak up about unwelcome behavior,” he said in a statement.