Humane Society CEO resigns after sexual harassment allegations
The CEO of the Humane Society of the United States reportedly stepped down on Friday amid pressure from employees and donors over allegations of sexual harassment.
The New York Times reported that Wayne Pacelle told Humane Society staff members of his plans to resign in an email, saying that the organization’s “mission depends on unity” and that it would be best for him to step aside.
“I am resigning, effective immediately, to allow that process to move forward expeditiously and to put aside any distractions, in the best interests of all parties,” Pacelle said in the email, according to the Times.
Pacelle’s resignation came after a majority of the Humane Society’s board of directors voted on Thursday to close an investigation into his alleged behavior.
That vote, however, prompted seven board members to resign in protest.
The Washington Post first reported earlier this week that senior women in the organization warned Pacelle about his behavior toward subordinates, donors and volunteers and said that his behavior threatened the group’s work.
Pacelle has been accused by multiple women of sexual harassment. Among the allegations is that he asked one woman to watch him masturbate and threatened her career if she reported the incident.
Pacelle has denied the allegations, and has said that he never received any warnings about his behavior.