Museum Director Says Gay Co-Workers Created Hostile Workplace

Gay
CONNECTICUT – The director of a museum where “The Stepford Wives” was filmed is alleging that her gay colleagues created a hostile work environment, including one who poked her in the eye and another who showed her graphic pictures from a gay Web site.
Marjorie St. Aubyn, executive director of the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum in Norwalk, says the incidents were part of a campaign to force her to resign. She also said her car was vandalized and she was threatened with poisoning.
St. Aubyn filed a discrimination complaint last month. The museum’s board voted this month not to renew her contract, which ends Saturday.
“What appears to have happened is that once my client had some problems with one of the gay members of the staff, they all took umbrage at it,” Craig Dickinson, St. Aubyn’s attorney, said Monday. “It got very ugly.”
Christopher Cooke, chairman of the museum’s board of directors, denied the allegations.
“I am stunned by these things,” Cooke said. “I have no knowledge of any of this being true.”
Cooke said the decision not to renew St. Aubyn’s contract was not related to her discrimination complaint. He declined to say how he voted, but said the decision apparently stemmed from St. Aubyn’s lack of experience as a curator at a time when the museum plans renovations.
Experts say such a complaint is unusual.
“I think it tells us no person is immune and it’s everyone’s responsibility to be mindful of the work environment,” said Paula Brantner, program director at Workplace Fairness, a nonprofit group that promotes employee rights.
St. Aubyn, a heterosexual who became executive director of the 62-room Victorian mansion in 2001, filed a complaint with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities alleging age, gender and “sexual preference” discrimination.
St. Aubyn, 60, says she did a good job, attracting “The Stepford Wives” and other projects to film the site and boost its revenue. The “Stepford Wives” remake, starring Nicole Kidman, was filmed partly at the mansion in 2003.
But she says the museum took no action after one colleague showed her the graphic photos and the other assaulted her by poking her in the eye with his finger.
Telephone messages were left for her colleagues.
St. Aubyn accused Cooke of threatening to fire her if she did not withdraw the assault charges.
Cooke said St. Aubyn filed a police report three months after the alleged assault. He said the case apparently was dismissed, but Dickinson says it’s pending.
“I did not interfere with any prosecution,” Cooke said. “That’s an absolute lie.”
Dickinson said his client is seeking compensation. He said he believes the complaint played a role in the board’s decision not to retain her.
from The Wilton Villager

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: