TX--Austin CEO resigns from board; Victims urge action
For immediate release: Thursday, April 21, 2016
A spokesperson for the Austin-based Whole Foods Market claims the company’s CEO John Mackey is "no longer serves on Mr. Marc Gafni’s board and has no connection to (his) San Francisco-based Center for Integral Wisdom.”
Gafni, a former rabbi, has generated controversy by admitting to sexually abusing a youngster and essentially blaming her by saying "She was 14 going on 35, and I never forced her."
We hope it’s true that Mackey’s distancing himself from Gafni. If so, however, we disagree with the public relations staffer who claims “there’s nothing else to say on this matter."
NOTE – The comments made in an email yesterday, Wednesday, April 20, to San Francisco activist Nancy Levine from Whole Foods public relations staffer Robin Rehfield Kelly - [email protected].
Mackey should apologize for his callousness and publicly announce his resignation from the board. He should also remove the link to Gafni's CIW site on his Whole Foods blog.
And since Mackey’s involvement in Gafni’s center has been hurtful to those who were assaulted by Gafni, we hope Mackey takes clear, public and effective steps to ameliorate their suffering and to contribute to a climate that welcomes and encourages victims of sexual violence to speak up, rather than a climate that depresses and deters them.
If you’ve hurt people, distancing yourself from a wrongdoer isn’t enough. You have a moral duty to do more. We hope to see tangible helpful action by Mackey very soon to lessen the harm he has caused by his irresponsible affiliation with and support for an admitted sex offender.
Finally, we are deeply grateful to and impressed by Ms. Levine's hard and tireless work to expose Mackey and Gafni. Kids are safer because of her courage and compassion.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)