Mark Zuckerberg’s personal security chief has been placed on administrative leave after staffers accused the bodyguard of sexual harassment and of making homophobic and racist comments about the Facebook CEO’s wife.
Two former employees alleged that Liam Booth, Zuckerberg’s security chief, had groped household staffers and made a lewd comment, according to Business Insider, which first reported the allegations. The employees also said Booth made homophobic and racist jokes that included saying that Zuckerberg’s wife, Priscilla Chan, could not drive because she is a woman and Asian.
Zuckerberg was made aware of the allegations against Booth after receiving notice from the Los Angeles based office of The Bloom Firm, which represents two former employees of Zuckerberg’s staff. Bloom confirmed to Fortune that she represents the former employees, but declined to comment further on the allegations, and whether the employees intend to file a lawsuit.
Booth, a former secret service agent, has been placed on administrative leave, pending the completion of an independent investigation by an outside law firm, Ben LaBolt, Zuckerberg’s personal spokesperson, told Fortune.
“The family office takes complaints of workplace misconduct very seriously and our human resources team promptly investigates all such matters,” LaBolt says.
On LinkedIn, Booth lists his job as “chief security officer” and says he has more than 25 years of experience working in security, including the U.S. Secret Service.
Without mentioning names, Booth writes that his current job includes designing and managing “the safety and security strategies in support of a prominent family, their brand, physical assets and all associated entities from a physical, intelligence, personal and surveillance standpoint.”
Booth could not be immediately reached for comment.
It’s common for wealthy people, especially one as recognizable as Zuckerberg, to hire bodyguards and security experts to devise a safety plan for them when they’re at home, in public, and even in the office.
Zuckerberg personally paid Booth’s salary, however Facebook also spends millions on protecting its founder.
The company’s spending on Zuckerberg’s security has continued to increase by millions each year. Facebook spent $9.96 million on Zuckerberg’s security last year, according to regulatory filings. That works out to more than $27,000 per day. As CEO, Zuckerberg also receives an additional $10 million annual stipend to cover security expenses for himself and his family.
Zuckerberg is free to spend that money on bodyguards, equipment to make his home safer, and for using private jets for his personal travel, according to a filing with the SEC.
The latest news about Zuckerberg comes after he survived a vote of confidence on Thursday at Facebook’s annual meeting that attempted to remove him as Facebook’s chairman. But Zuckerberg owns a majority of voting shares and rejected any changes.