Many people have spoken out over the years about the troubling activities of HSUS and its now former CEO, Wayne Pacelle. As you may have heard, Pacelle was recently forced to resign in the midst of a major sexual harassment and misconduct scandal.
Of course, the problems with Pacelle go far beyond the multiple allegations of sexual harassment and cover-ups. He has, as a matter of routine, entered into unethical and destructive collaborations with animal abusers and used charitable resources to publicize false claims that inflated his public image.
This inflated public image put the people he interacted with at a tremendous disadvantage when considering whether or not to report inappropriate behavior. In effect, Pacelle’s fabricated victories — notably, his claim to have “banned” cages in California — enabled his behavior and insulated him from accountability.
When the Washington Post, the New York Times, and other national news outlets reported on the scandal that forced Pacelle’s resignation — it was widely and appropriately seen as validation for HFA having sounded the alarm about the dysfunction and lack of ethics at HSUS.
It was during Pacelle’s reign that HSUS claimed California hens would be “cage free” by 2015 and that dog fighter Michael Vick would be a “good pet owner.” It embraced and provided cover for SeaWorld following the release of Blackfish — and lost millions of dollars of charitable funds in a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) lawsuit.
Prop 12’s Puppet Master
Pacelle’s long-overdue ouster from HSUS is obviously welcome news. It comes far too late, however, for the people he deceived and the millions of animals now suffering as a result of his corrupt deal-making with the egg industry and other exploiters of animals.
And, although he’s no longer officially employed by HSUS, Pacelle remains involved behind the scenes, is still in close contact with the organization’s staff, and is still essentially calling the shots regarding Proposition 12.
When women started blowing the whistle on Pacelle’s misconduct, HSUS’s response was to question the women’s integrity.
That’s important to keep in mind in the weeks ahead. Because the very same “kill-the-messenger” tactics HSUS used against the women coming forward with allegations of sexual abuse — are now being used to attack the conscientious animal advocates opposed to Prop 12.
But that will never stop us from from exposing the truth — and fighting against cruelty, cages, and fraud.