Bono Apologises Over Abuse and Bullying Claims at His ONE Charity Organisation

Bono Apologises Over Abuse and Bullying Claims at His ONE Charity Organisation

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 between 2011 and 2015. "I hate bullying, can't stand it", the musician made a statement to the Mail on Sunday newspaper. "The poorest people in the poorest places being bullied by their circumstance is the reason we set up One". In November a year ago, a group of former employees tweeted allegation of misconduct from members of senior staff from their office in Johannesburg.

Examples included instances of name-calling and forced labor, including one manager who put her junior staffers to work on domestic tasks at her house.

CEO Gayle Smith, who joined the company in March 2017, shared a letter to One's website Friday admitting that the organization had committed "an institutional failure" after an investigation found evidence of bullying and belittling between 2011 and 2015.

Bono said he took some responsibility for the charity's head office failing to protect employees in Johannesburg with accusations spanning a four year period and offered to meet the victims to apologise in person. "The investigation also found the situation was not adequately addressed nor resolved by executive management at the time, and that ONE's board was not, in my view, properly or fully informed".

The "With or Without You" singer founded The One Campaign in 2004 with Bobby Shriver as a means of helping fix poverty and preventable diseases, particularly in Africa.

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Gayle Smith also confirmed that an allegation had been made that a woman was "demoted because she did not become intimate" with an official from another country.

The woman's manager reportedly made "sexist and suggestive comments" about her to the official. Seventeen of them came forward, with some claiming they were treated "worse than dogs".

In his apology, Bono notes that he and his board, which includes former U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, are "reeling" from these revelations.

Smith has released a statement saying that although the report has been unable to corroborate the claims from the demoted female employee, they "do not discount any allegation - we investigate them and will continue to do so should others arise".

The claims, backed by witness statements and documentary evidence, are hugely embarrassing for an organisation that harnesses celebrities to campaign against corruption, sexism and "dirty money".

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