On Tuesday (March 15), Christianity Today published a report detailing the organization’s failure to properly address sexual harassment allegations about former advertising director Olatokunbo Olawoye and retired editor in chief Mark Galli.
Olawoye was fired from CT in 2017 after he was accused of attempting to pay for sex with a teenage girl, a crime for which he served a three-year prison sentence. Complaints about Galli’s inappropriate behavior span more than a decade, including after his retirement.
The allegations against these two men included unwanted hugs and touching of the small of women’s backs, their legs, and the straps of their bras. Olawoye was accused of inviting himself into the offices of female employees for long, personal conversations about his marriage and sex life. Galli once barged in on a female employee who was known to be pumping breast milk. Both men were known for commenting on the appearance of female employees.
When Olawoye was arrested for a sex crime, Galli delivered an address to employees about suspending judgment.
An independent Guidepost Solutions assessment did not find any allegations of harassment or abuse outside of these two former employees but identified where CT’s procedures for reporting and response to harassment allegations allowed the problem to persist.
Further, while Guidepost “did not find a wider pattern or culture of systemic harassment engrained at CT,” they did find that “CT’s work environment and culture can feel inhospitable to women at times.”
“While many believe that this aspect of CT’s culture has improved under its current leadership, others believe that women are still discounted and treated as ‘less than’ in the CT workplace,” the report said.
Daniel Silliman, who serves as news editor for CT, also interviewed more than two dozen current and former employees regarding the pattern of harassment with these two former employees in an investigation that ran concurrent to but independent from the Guidepost assessment.
Silliman reported his findings in an article published on March 15. While the article was edited by CT’s senior news editor Kate Shellnutt, it was not reviewed by members of CT’s executive team prior to its publishing.
What Silliman found was that CT did not have “clear corporate guidelines laying out the consequences” for sexual harassment violations, which led to HR opening files and taking notes but ultimately nothing being done by executive leadership in response to complaints. Multiple female employees were not even certain whether HR was responsible for sexual harassment complaints during the time period when the harassment occurred.