Canadian Museum for Human Rights CEO to leave after employees hid LGBTQ2 content

Guests gather at the grand opening of the Canadian Museum For Human Rights in Winnipeg on September 17, 2014.
Guests gather at the grand opening of the Canadian Museum For Human Rights in Winnipeg on September 17, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods.

Correction: An earlier version of this story identified John Young as the Board Chair. He is the CMHR CEO. The story below has been updated.

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg says its CEO will not seek reappointment after the revelation that LGBTQ2 content was hidden from some tours at their request.

Museum spokeswoman Maureen Fitzhenry confirmed Friday that John Young announced to the staff that he would “not seek reappointment when his five-year term is up on Aug. 14.”

The CMHR said that for two years, some of its employees conducted tours for student groups that excluded LGBTQ2 content.

The practice was allowed for schools that requested it until 2017, Fitzhenry said, adding that it was wrong and never should have happened.

In a release Friday afternoon, the museum’s executive team issued a formal apology for the practice and called it a ‘betrayal’ of the museum’s values.

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“For breaking the trust that was extended to us by the LGBTQ2+ community, our visitors, our staff and volunteers, our members and donors, and for the hurt and harm this betrayal has caused, we apologize,” the statement said.

“We failed in our responsibility as leaders.”

READ MORE: Canadian Museum for Human Rights under fire after allegations of racism, discrimination surface

Federal Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault said he takes very seriously the apparent cases of self-censorship of LGBTQ2 realities at the museum.

Former Winnipeg mayor Glen Murray said he has resigned from the board of Friends of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

I’ve resigned from the Board of Friends of #CMHR over this betrayal of its mandate & all of us who worked hard to see it built & whose stories of overcoming hate are told within its walls,” he posted on Twitter.

“Shocked there is no public apology or outreach to communities.”

This is only the latest scandal to hit the museum, which recently came under fire for issues of workplace discrimination after posts began popping up on social media with the hashtag #cmhrstoplying. 

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In social media posts, former employees alleged that they experienced racism and homophobia while working at the museum.

Young told 680 CJOB at the time that the museum recognizes that it has an obligation to take the allegations seriously and to act according to its mandate.

Fitzhenry said a statement from the board will be forthcoming Friday.

The CMHR is the only national museum outside of southern Ontario.

-With files from Sam Thompson and The Canadian Press