Human rights museum excluded LGBTQ2+ content on some school tours; CEO to step down after term ends
WINNIPEG -- The president and CEO of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights will be stepping down after his term ends after the museum confirmed allegations it excluded and hid LGBTQ2+ content for some school tours.
The CMHR confirmed with CTV News that John Young, the CEO and president of the museum, will not be seeking reappointment when his term ends on August 14.
This comes in the wake of allegations that the museum accepted requests from some schools to exclude content regarding the rights of the LGBTQ2+ community.
Maureen Fitzhenry, the media relations manager for the museum, told CTV News this practice lasted for a period of about two years, from January 2015 when the museum began to accept school tours, to 2017 when staff was instructed not to facilitate requests to exclude content.
"This was wrong and should never have happened," Fitzhenry told CTV News in a written statement.
In a written apology issued on Friday, the CMHR Executive Team said they broke the trust of the LGBTQ2+ community, visitors, staff, members and donors, and failed as leaders.
"The LGBTQ2+ community has a long and painful history of their stories and experiences being hidden, invalidated and marginalized," the apology reads.
"For the Museum to actively try to hide these stories and experiences which are displayed prominently in our galleries is not just a painful repetition of a pattern of oppression, it is a profound betrayal."
This comes about a week after staff at the museum made allegations of racism and discrimination.
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"The Museum is extremely concerned about the experiences being shared by current and former CMHR employees about systemic discrimination, racism, and homophobia," Fitzhenry said.
She added the museum has hired Laurelle Harris, a Winnipeg lawyer with expertise in Women's Studies, Black Studies and mediation, to perform an independent review of the complaints of racism and other forms of discrimination in the workplace.
Harris has been mandated to provide an initial report to the CMHR Board of Trustees by the end of July, which will include recommendations.
Fitzhenry said this report will be used to inform an external-led audit of the CMHR workplace practices and policies around diversity, respect, anti-racism, and non-discrimination.
"We are committed to a fully transparent process as we work towards identifying the scope and effects of systemic racism and other forms of discrimination in this organization," Fitzhenry said.
She added updates will be posted on the CMHR website on the report and the recommendations submitted.
"As leaders, we recognize that trust has been shattered and needs to be earned again," the apology reads.
"We hope you will give us the opportunity to do so."
The CMHR Executive Team went on to say that the museum will implement specific initiatives to improve the inclusion of LGBTQ2+ perspectives in operations.