International Art Fair Director Fired After Sexual Harassment Accusations

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 23: (L-R) writer Judd Tully, art critic and writer Benjamin Genocchio, and artist Enoc Perez attend 2010 Blouin Creative Leadership Gala at the Metropolitan Club on September 23, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Thos Robinson/Getty Images for Louise Blouin Group)
Thos Robinson/Getty Images for Louise Blouin Group

Benjamin Genocchio, the executive director of the international art fair The Armory Show, has been removed from his role after multiple accusations of sexual harassment against him were published in the New York Times. 

In a statement Wednesday, the Armory Show confirmed that Genocchio had been replaced as executive director, but denied that his behavior during his tenure there equated to harassment.

“The Armory Show seeks to maintain a respectful workplace and prohibits harassment or discrimination of any kind,” the art fair said in a statement. “After allegations were made against Mr. Genocchio in the spring of 2017, we immediately followed our procedures and initiated an investigation using outside counsel. We concluded that Mr. Genocchio’s conduct did not rise to the level of sexual harassment.

“We have only recently learned of the allegations related to Mr. Genocchio’s previous employment,” it continued. “At this time, Deputy Director Nicole Berry has assumed the role of Executive Director of The Armory Show.”

Genocchio, who is an influential figure in the art world, was accused by five women of making inappropriate advances towards them, while eight women said he had made inappropriate comments. An additional 11 people confirmed they were aware of his behavior.

“Launching start-up news websites definitely led to conflicts with a few employees, but I never intentionally acted in an inappropriate manner nor spoke to or touched a colleague in a sexually inappropriate way,” Genocchio said in a statement. “To the extent my behavior was perceived as disrespectful, I deeply and sincerely apologize and will ensure it does not happen again.”

The show, which takes place annually in New York, remains the city’s leading fair for some of the world’s most important 20th- and 21st-century art.

Genocchio is the latest figure in the arts world to be accused of sexual harassment, following the emergence of dozens of sexual abuse complaints against movie producer Harvey Weinstein. Other individuals accused of abuse or harassment include Kevin SpaceyBen Affleck, and Dustin Hoffman.


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