Open Letter to U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez From NAASCA, Advocates: Change the Culture of Sexual Violence
Advocates for survivors of sexual assault, including Matthew Sandusky, son of Jerry Sandusky, urge Perez to "change the culture" in his speech at Conscious Capitalism in Austin this week. Open Letter RE: Whole Foods CEO, Conscious Capitalism founder John Mackey's support of alleged sex abuser Marc Gafni who described one of his accusers: "She was 14 going on 35," as first reported by The NY Times.
Austin, Texas, October 17, 2016 (Newswire.com) - Advocacy leaders have signed an open letter to U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez, urging him to speak up about Whole Foods co-CEO John Mackey's support of alleged sexual abuser, former rabbi Marc Gafni, as first reported by The New York Times in December.
Perez is a scheduled keynote speaker at the Conscious Capitalism CEO Summit in Austin, October 18-20. Whole Foods co-CEO John Mackey is a founding board member of nonprofit Conscious Capitalism, Inc., founder of the movement, and author of the book Conscious Capitalism.
The letter's 19 signers, mostly CEOs, founders, and executive directors of advocacy organizations, object to Mackey's support of Gafni.
The Times reported Gafni describing one of his accusers:
"She was 14 going on 35, and I never forced her."
The Times also reported:
"A co-founder of Whole Foods, John Mackey, a proponent of conscious capitalism, calls Mr. Gafni 'a bold visionary.' He is a chairman of the executive board of Mr. Gafni’s center, and he hosts board meetings at his Texas ranch."
The Washington Post reported on coordinated protests at Whole Foods stores in New York City and Los Angeles in May.
Sara Kabakov, the then-14 year old described by Gafni as "going on 35," came forward publicly for the first time in January, in an opinion piece in the Forward:
"I was 13 when Marc Gafni's abuse began"
Mackey issued a statement in June, pledging his loyalty to Gafni, as reported by the Forward.
Matthew Sandusky, founder of Peaceful Hearts Foundation, and abused son of convicted pedophile and former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky, is atop the list of signers of the letter, which also includes Bill Murray, founder of NAASCA (National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse), and David Clohessy, executive director of SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, the organization featured in the movie Spotlight).
Perez's office has not responded to inquiries.
The open letter to Perez, authored by activist Nancy Levine, first appeared on the website Feminine Collective on Friday:
"An Open Letter To U.S. Secretary Of Labor Thomas E. Perez: Changing The Culture Of Sexual Violence"
Open Letter republished on Medium includes additional signers.