Is Humane Society of the United States CEO Wayne Pacelle the Harvey Weinstein of the charity world? And what did other executives and the board of directors know, and when?
Those are the questions many are asking themselves today after a front-page bombshell report in the Washington Post. The Post provides details of an internal investigation at HSUS that has found three women who accuse Pacelle of sexual harassment. Additionally, the report notes that senior staff had warned about Pacelle’s behavior, which created a toxic environment, and that several women were paid settlement money after they said they were retaliated against.
The Post story didn’t even address allegations against another HSUS executive who is close friends with Pacelle.
What we do know is that people at HSUS have been aware of Pacelle’s activities for years. And yet even now—over a month after starting this investigation—the HSUS board still apparently hasn’t done anything to discipline him. In fact, we wouldn’t know about this investigation but for some sources at HSUS contacting the press. It’s weak leadership. But then what do you expect from a board that wouldn’t fire Pacelle even after he was caught paying a witness who lied under oath, leading to HSUS being sued and paying $11 million in settlement?
If you were harassed by Pacelle, the best thing you can do is talk to a reporter. The leadership of HSUS simply cannot be trusted to do the right thing when for years they’ve looked the other way.
We’ve known for years that Pacelle has deceived donors and the press. Under his leadership, HSUS has grown their cash empire and collects more than $100 million dollars a year, primarily from women who think they’re supporting their local pet shelter. He’s collected millions in salary and pension payments, traveled the world in style, hid millions of donor dollars in the Caribbean, and done it on the back of kind-hearted, generous people.
And now we know that Pacelle was also harassing women and abusing his power at the same time.
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