Internal probe finds misconduct within Bono's advocacy group

Internal probe finds misconduct within Bono's advocacy group
From CBC - March 10, 2018

The One Campaign, an advocacy organization co-founded by Bono of the rock band U2, is acknowledging "an institutional failure" after an internal investigation revealed a pattern of abuse and misconduct among leadership in its Johannesburg office.

The non-profit, launched in 2004, focuses on fighting poverty and preventable diseases, particularly in Africa. "Actions. Speak. Louder." is its official motto.

In a letter to members posted on its website Friday, CEO Gayle Smith said that between 2011 and 2015 staffers in South Africa were bullied, berated and belittled by managers. In one instance, a supervisor made her employees work as party hostesses at her home on weekends.

The letter also says a female employee alleged that a supervisor made sexist and suggestive comments about her to a government official, and that she was demoted after refusing to have sex with the dignitary. Smith, who joined the organization in March 2017, said One Campaign learned about the allegations after the employees, who had all since left, shared their grievances on social media in November of last year.

Smith wrote that the organization then launched an internal investigation.

Bullying, harassment and name-calling

The sexual harassment allegations are so far uncorroborated, Smith wrote, but she stressed that the organization does not "discount any allegation." Investigators were able to substantiate claims of bullying and harassment that included instances of the Johannesburg manager calling her staff names including "idiot," "stupid" and "worthless."

The report also found that executive managers were made aware of the abuse, through emails and complaints filed through human resources, and failed to stop it.

"The overall evidence from our investigation was sufficient for me to conclude that we needed to own an institutional failure and ensure that our organization has in place the systems, policies and practices needed so that this never happens again," Smith wrote.

Other non-profits under fire


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