2/5/2018 2:06:00 PM/Categories: General News, Today's Top 5, Livestock, Grains
Humane Society CEO Wayne Pacelle resigned Friday, hours after the nonprofits board voted to retain his leadership, following a recent investigation into claims of sexual misconduct of three employees. Pacelle denied the claims.
Seven board members resigned in protest immediately after the board’s decision. The move to keep Pacelle also defied demands by several major donors to cut ties with the longtime executive, or risk losing their financial and cooperative support, according to coverage from the Washington Post.
The New York Times reports a contract lobbyist for HSUS said Thursday she would not continue to work for the organization, and a major donor said his foundation would not renew their $100,000 grant to the group.
Thirty-one board members reviewed the allegations against Pacelle during a seven-hour meeting. NPR reports the seven board members who resigned were author Suzy Welch; Marsha Perelman, former chief executive of the Philadelphia Zoo; Jennifer Leaning, director of the Harvard FXB Center; cartoonist Patrick McDonnell; Buffy Linehan, a former executive at the Altria Group; David Brownstein, managing director and head of public finance at Citi; and Andrew Weinstein, chief executive of Ridgeback Communications.
The Post also reported details of the investigation, saying HSUS interviewed 33 witnesses, including Pacelle. Allegations included complaints from a former intern who said Pacelle kissed her against her will in 2005; a former employee who said he asked to masturbate in front of her and offered her oral sex in a hotel room in 2006; and a former employee who said he stopped by her office late one night in 2012 and asked her to salsa dance with him.
Reasa Haggard Currier, who has worked as director of faith outreach at the Humane Society since 2014, told the Post that she was one of the three women and that the board’s decision to retain Pacelle angered her.
Politico details other instances of sexual misconduct by HSUS’ former vice president Paul Shapiro, who says he left the organizationwillingly last month.
The nonprofit also offered settlements to three other workers who said they were dismissed or demoted after speaking up about Pacelle’s misconduct
Last week, the organization said it had launched an internal investigation into three complaints of sexual misconduct and harassment against Pacelle. The investigation was led by the law firm Morgan Lewis.
2/18/2018 1:00 PM
Even with Pacelle (officially) gone, his enablers remain in firm control and a culture of secrecy and corruption still looms at the top of HSUS. Also, keep in mind that when Pacelle supposedly "left" the Fund for Animals, he still remained in control via his handpicked executive staff and board members. That dynamic still exists at HSUS with Mike Markarian, Holly Hazard, Heidi Prescott, Josh Balk and all the board members who voted to shut down the sexual harassment investigation and to keep Pacelle in place.
Wayne Pacelle’s misconduct at HSUS goes far beyond sexual harassment allegations. He has, as a matter of routine, lied about his accomplishments and used charitable resources to publicize false claims that elevated his stature and fostered the kind of hero worship that has been so pervasive. This put the women he interacted with at a tremendous disadvantage when considering whether or not to report inappropriate behavior. His fabricated victories enabled his predatory ways by attracting followers and by insulating him from accountability and exposure.
Pacelle generated tremendous publicity for himself when he announced a legislative deal with United Egg Producers, which he claimed would “outlaw battery cages nationwide.” In reality, that deal would have kept laying hens confined inside egg factory cages in perpetuity.
Facing litigation that included charges of bribery, money laundering, and obstruction of justice (a check signed by Pacelle was apparently used to pay a witness who had repeatedly lied under oath), HSUS settled a massive RICO lawsuit by paying the owners of Ringling Brothers Circus millions of dollars of charitable donations that should have been used to protect animals. That’s in addition to all the money in legal fees that were paid out. This use of charitable dollars – to cover the improper conduct of Pacelle and other executive staff – was not unlike the misuse of funds used to essentially buy the silence of women allegedly sexually harassed at HSUS.
Details here: https://www.hfa.org/pdf/Corruption-RICO_Lawsuit-HSUS.pdf
In the biggest blunder in animal rights history, Pacelle squandered over $10 million dollars on Proposition 2, the botched 2008 initiative that resulted in millions of laying hens being subjected to more than nine years (and counting) of preventable cage confinement. Nevertheless, Pacelle’s continuously repeated claim that he had “outlawed” battery cages in California has been his biggest claim to fame. Pacelle and the egg industry have now introduced yet another ballot initiative in California. This new initiative would declare battery cages legal in California for additional years and would forever allow the egg industry to provide hens with as little as one square foot of floor space per bird.
Details here: https://www.hfa.org/legalizing-california-battery-cages.html
None of the above would have been possible without the complicity of the HSUS executive staff and members of the board of directors. Just as Pacelle provided cover for Paul Shapiro, HSUS’s senior staff and board members have covered for Pacelle’s behavior. There needs to be a clean sweep.