2017 was undoubtedly a notable yet stressful year, unlike any others seen in recent United States history. The chaos of a racially insensitive and incapable man being elected as president, along with the outpouring of backlash that has since ensued, sheds light on the sheer magnitude that 2017 encompassed. However, if there is one thing that remains constant in a time of negativity, it is that a silver lining can always be found, and last year was no exception.
Amidst the controversy and challenges that would come to engulf the nation, the one positive factor that was able to emerge can be seen in the increasing courage of women around the country to stand up against sexual harassment, and publicly holding their abusers accountable for their unwanted actions. 2017 saw the downfall of individuals who, for years, have been imposing their sexual advances on women, regardless of their lack of consent. Key figures in various industries were called out and charged for their harassment, such as Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes, Rep. Trent Franks (R-A.Z.), just to name a few.
With the #MeToo movement picking up momentum, the trend of strong women has remained prevalent into 2018, most recently with a harassment case emerging against the head of the Humane Society of the United States. Wayne Pacelle, CEO of the organization, was found to have three separate complaints of sexual harassment filed against him since taking his post. However, in an unfortunate and unusual move, the organization’s board decided against levying punitive actions against Pacelle.
BREAKING: Humane Society decides to keep CEO Wayne Pacelle in charge of one of the country's largest animal charities after sexual harassment complaints, prompting seven board members to immediately resign.https://t.co/5FCmVk5bFs
— Danielle Paquette (@DPAQreport) February 1, 2018
According to a Washington Post report,
‘The Humane Society investigation interviewed 33 witnesses, including Pacelle, outlining complaints from a former intern who said Pacelle had 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.’
HSUS board members are fleeing after the group decided to keep its CEO Wayne Pacelle, who has been accused of sexual harassment. https://t.co/S2x9KKM3Zl
— Sonny Bunch (@SonnyBunch) February 1, 2018
Pacelle, who assumed his position in 2004, has repeatedly denied the allegations against him, and attempts to reach out to the Humane Society for comment have been fruitless. Upon the board’s decision to keep Pacelle, seven members of the board immediately resigned their posts. Individuals within the organization, as well as many of their major donors, have expressed their outrage at the decision the board came to, claiming that they will not be renewing their donations in the upcoming year.
This will cause major donors to withdraw support from an organization that needs funding. Animals will be the ones paying the price. That’s unjust. If Wayne Pacelle cares about the Humane Society’s mission, he will step down. https://t.co/p1bJ5WbXe6
— ?Black Widow 2020? (@natasharesists) February 1, 2018
@HumaneSociety You need to remove Wayne Pacelle as CEO. I will be pulling my funding until the board has replaced him with someone else.
— Ryan (@spiffypol) February 1, 2018
Several individuals associated with the Humane Society have stated that they warned the organization against Pacelle’s behavior in the past, but that their complaints were not taken seriously. The organization, which focuses on animal rights and protection issues, is one of the largest of its kind in the nation. Such a decision by their top-tier leaders presents concerns about the operations and culture that is promoted within the activist group, calling into question the legitimacy and validity of their advocacy, especially amidst the dozens of sexual harassment cases that have emerged so prominently in the last year.
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