The Humane Society Will Keep CEO Accused of Sexual Harassment, but It’s Losing Seven Board Members
Despite three sexual harassment allegations against him, the chief executive of the Humane Society of the United States, Wayne Pacelle, will continue to lead the organization, the board decided Thursday. The decision prompted 7 of the 31 board members to immediately resign, according to the Washington Post. .
An internal investigation undertaken last month included accounts of three women who accused Pacelle of sexual misconduct in incidents dating back to 2005. The complaints range from an intern alleging that Pacelle forcibly kissed her, to a former employee who said the executive had asked to masturbate in front of her and offered her oral sex in a hotel room, according to the Post. Pacelle has denied the allegations.
Three other staffers were also reportedly offered settlements after the nonprofit dismissed or demoted them following their attempts to speak out about the harassment, the investigation’s memo said.
Top donors had called on the society to cut ties with Parcelle. Yet after a seven hour meeting, the Humane Society’s board ultimately decided to defy threats of pulled-funding and retain the chief executive, the Post reports.
Rachel Perman, director of charitable giving at vegetarian food company Tofurky, which has donated $30,000 to the Humane Society over the past two years, told the Post she had tried to warn the charity’s board about pervasive sexual harassment.
Perman said she was “disgusted” by the board’s decision to keep Pacelle.