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Latest CMHR report finds history of sexual harassment complaints, racism towards Black men

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A second report on allegations of racism and homophobia at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg outlines additional sexual harassment complaints and a pattern of racism specifically against Black men – Jun 28, 2021

A second report on allegations of racism and homophobia at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg outlines additional sexual harassment complaints and a pattern of racism specifically against Black men.

The latest report stemming from an external review says record-keeping of such complaints was “decentralized and poor,” and raises concern that appropriate action was never taken.

The report includes two more sexual harassment complaints not initially disclosed and more allegations by employees of racism.

“There is a pattern of gendered racism being perpetuated against racialized men within the Museum and against Black men in particular, taking the form of sexualizing and fetishizing of certain Black and racialized men and ster eotyping Black men as ‘dangerous’ and ‘predatory,”‘ the report says.

Read more: Canadian Museum for Human Rights releases new framework after allegations of racism, sexism

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The museum was criticized online last year by current and former employees after it posted images of a Justice for Black Lives rally.

The employees said it was hypocritical to bring up the rally when museum staff faced racism at work.

Some also said that LGBTQ content in the museum had been censored at the request of certain school groups.

Isha Khan, the museum’s president and CEO, said in a note to staff that change has already taken place at the museum and work to disrupt oppression continues.

“We all have a responsibility to work together to bring about meaningful change – to be patient at times and to push harder at others,” Khan wrote.

Khan began a five-year term leading the museum last August after the allegations led to the resignation of former CEO John Young. She promised to create an inclusive and respectful work environment.

Read the report: 

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Winnipeg lawyer Laurelle Harris was brought in to do an external review and her initial report was released last summer. It
substantiated claims by current and former employees, and found racism was pervasive and systemic at the museum.

In response, the museum developed a plan Khan said was a “blueprint for change.” There have been more than 4,000 hours of training and a new visitor code of conduct has been developed. There is also a content review of the museums exhibits.

Harris’s second report released Monday includes information from 35 interviews with current employees and has more recommendations, including the development of guidelines for investigating sexual harassment and other forms of discrimination.

“If we work together and support one another, we can embrace our responsibility to share, to influence, to educate and to support the work we must all do to live our human rights every day,” Khan said.

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