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Johnson (center) at Downing Street during President Trump's state visit to the U.K. Photo: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

U.S. Ambassador to the U.K. Woody Johnson made "inappropriate or insensitive comments" in the workplace on topics "such as religion, sex, or color," according to a report from the State Department's Inspector General's Office.

Why it matters: Johnson, an heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune who owns the New York Jets football team, has been under scrutiny for his behavior as ambassador, including reportedly attempting to help steer the British Open golf tournament to one of President Trump's courses.

Details: The inspector general report doesn't address those claims, but finds that Johnson's leadership style at times harmed morale at the embassy.

  • In addition to the "inappropriate or insensitive comments," the report finds that when staff resisted Johnson's suggestions, "he sometimes questioned their intentions or implied that he might have them replaced."
  • "This caused staff to grow wary of providing him with their best judgment," the report notes, citing interviews with staff members.

The report also addresses Johnson's poor relations with his former deputy, a career diplomat named Lewis Lukens, which it says harmed "mission morale."

  • Johnson had Lukens removed after "speeches in which he praised the Obama administration," per AP.
  • Lukens has since said that he raised concerns about Johnson's alleged lobbying over the British Open with State Department officials.

Johnson has denied any wrongdoing, and responded specifically to the report's recommendation that his comments be reviewed "for compliance with Department Equal Employment Opportunity" and other policies.

  • "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," Johnson wrote.
  • He added that morale at the embassy was now "better than ever."

Go deeper: State Department IG finds Saudi arms sales were legal but didn't weigh civilian casualties

Go deeper

Oct 16, 2020 - World

Boris Johnson says U.K. must prepare for no-deal Brexit

Photo: David Cliff/NurPhoto via Getty Images

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Friday that the U.K. must prepare for a no-deal split from the European Union, unless the bloc offers a "fundamental" change in its negotiations, AP reports.

What he's saying: "As far as I can see they have abandoned the idea of a free trade deal. ... Unless there is a fundamental change of approach we are going to go for the Australia solution," Johnson said, referencing Australia's lack of a substantive trade deal with the EU.

18 mins ago - World

Biden to warn Putin U.S. will add troops in Eastern Europe if Russia invades Ukraine

Putin meets Biden in Geneva. Photo: Peter Klaunzer - Pool/Keystone via Getty

President Biden will warn Russian President Vladimir Putin when they speak on Tuesday that if Russia invades Ukraine, the U.S. is prepared to increase its troop presence, capabilities and military exercises on NATO's "eastern flank," a senior administration official told reporters.

Why it matters: The administration believes it's increasingly likely that Putin will order an invasion.

51 mins ago - World

U.S. announces diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics

An Olympic-themed sculpture in Beijing on Dec. 1. Photo: Hou Yu/China News Service via Getty Images

The U.S. announced Monday that it will not send officials to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in protest of human rights abuses committed by the Chinese Communist Party.

Why it matters: The diplomatic boycott — which won't prevent American athletes from competing — marks a major escalation between the U.S. and China amid already heightened tensions over the CCP's treatment of Muslim minorities, military threats to Taiwan and economic tariffs.