CEO won’t seek reappointment following allegations of racism, homophobia at Canadian Museum for Human Rights

By | June 18, 2020

The CEO of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg says he will not be seeking reappointment when his term ends this August.

John Young made the announcement to staff at the museum in an email obtained by CBC News Thursday afternoon.

It comes after numerous allegations about racism and homophobia at the museum surfaced online in recent weeks from former employees.

On Thursday, CBC News reported current and former employees of the museum said management would sometimes ask staff not to show any gay content on tours at the request of certain guests, including religious school groups.

“The idea that the museum has been intentionally hiding LGBTQ2* content from visitors is particularly painful,” Young said in his email to staff Thursday.

“While this is not the museum’s policy, clearly there have been instances that are at odds with our ‘come and see approach.’ That is a failure on our part, and as the head of the museum, accountability for these shortcomings at the museum lie on my shoulders, and I acknowledge the consequences that follow from that.”

The employees who spoke to CBC said the practice was common for at least two years, and in one case a staff member from the LGBT community was asked to physically block a same-sex marriage display from a passing group.

The museum confirmed that from January 2015 until the middle of 2017, schools and classes could make a request for content to be excluded. That included stories about diverse sexual orientations and gender identities.

Young said he’s discussed his decision with Federal Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault and will stay on until the end of his term to help support the transition ahead.

Late Thursday, former Winnipeg mayor Glen Murray announced his resignation 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,” Murray wrote on Twitter.

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

Young has been at the museum since August 2015. 

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