75ºF

MOCA director fired amid sexual harassment probe

Babacar M'Bow receives letter of termination Thursday

NORTH MIAMI, Fla. – The director of North Miami's Museum of Contemporary Art received a notice Thursday informing him that he has been terminated from his position after city officials said numerous allegations about sexual harassment and workplace misconduct were found to be substantiated.

"Based on the finding of the City's investigation into allegations of sexual harassment made against you, as well as your lack of appropriate supervision over your subordinate employees, I lack confidence in your ability to continue to serve as a spokesperson and chief advocate for the Museum," interim city manager Arthur Sorey III said in a letter.

According to an internal report, Outreach and Programs manager Tiffany Madera filed a complaint against Babacar M'Bow, as well as assistant director Alan Waufle, on Dec. 10.

M'Bow was immediately placed on paid administrative leave after the allegations and Waufle served a three-day suspension after a complaint alleging inappropriate gender language was filed against him.

The museum's assistant director for education and international programs was also fired.

According to the report, Madera claimed M'Bow touched her inappropriately and said on more occasion that the "staff needs to get laid," and that he could tell Madera "gets (expletive)," because she is the "only happy person."

Madera told city officials that M'Bow apologized to her after she told him that his comments made her uncomfortable and promised that it wouldn't happen again.

Madera also said in the complaint that M'Bow made veiled threats throughout August about "not firing people."

According to the report, M'Bow also suggested to Waufle that he take a vendor "out on the town and show her a good time," to which Waufle replied, "She's a skanky (expletive)."

Madera said she told Waufle that she was uncomfortable by the discussion that was happening in front of her and claimed that M’Bow interrupted her, saying "that is feminist rhetoric."

After numerous interviews with staff, city officials found that allegations of sexual harassment and explicit sexual language were substantiated. Allegations of inappropriate touching and systemic vague and veiled repudiation (retaliation) were found to be unsubstantiated.

M'Bow previously told Local 10 News reporter Michael Seiden that he's innocent and has hired an attorney.

"Mr. M'Bow is deeply disappointed by the nature of the allegations contained in the City of North Miami's report and believes he is the latest victim of the politicization of MOCA and other City personnel," M'Bow's attorney, Bridgette Thornton, said. "Mr. M'Bow is proud of the accomplishments of MOCA and its staff under his direction.  He vehemently denies the allegations in the report and looks forward to the day when he can fully contest them."


About the Author: