The celebrated Ghanaian-British architect Sir David Adjaye has been accused of misconduct by three former staff, in response to a report within the Monetary Instances. The allegations embody sexual harassment, sexual assault, and an abusive tradition inside his firm.
Adjaye, who’s 57, has obtained worldwide approval for this architectural designs, which embody a number of main cultural establishments just like the Smithsonian’s Nationwide Museum of African American Historical past and Tradition, Washington, and the Museum of Up to date Artwork, Denver.
Additional commissions that aren’t but accomplished embody the brand new Nationwide Cathedral of Ghana in Accra, the Edo Museum of West African Artwork in Benin Metropolis, and the U.Okay.’s forthcoming Holocaust memorial, the latter of which has now suspended in gentle of the allegations.
Artnet Information reached out to the extremely anticipated museum deliberate in Benin Metropolis for a remark, however didn’t hear again by publishing time.
Because the information broke yesterday, July 4, Adjaye has stepped down from a lot of roles and trusteeships, together with as architectural adviser to the mayor of London, in response to the New York Instances. He additionally resigned as a trustee of the Serpentine Galleries in London. Artnet Information has reached out to Adjaye Associates for additional remark however didn’t heard again by publishing time.
The three ladies weren’t recognized however, in response to the Monetary Instances‘s report, they’re all Black ladies who had been single moms of their forties when the incidents occurred. They’d every identified Adjaye earlier than becoming a member of his firm and had been already well-established inside their skilled networks. The report emphasised that their experiences at Adjaye Associates had long-term impacts on their psychological well being, careers, and monetary stability.
Two of the ladies, referred to with the pseudonyms “Maya” and “Gene,” joined Adjaye’s agency in 2018 to assist set up a brand new workplace in Accra, for which they moved to Ghana with their youngsters. They hardly ever obtained their salaries on time and endured prolonged waits for his or her work visas, forcing them right into a precarious place. Adjaye has admitted to “money stream points” and “an preliminary lack of construction and course of” within the workplace’s early days.
In September 2018, the pair met Adjaye for dinner and visited his condominium, the place they alleged that he shortly maneuvered them into his bed room and made persistent sexual passes, regardless of clear protestations from Gene, who left the room and waited exterior. Maya, who stayed, claimed that she was inebriated and that her recollections are hazy, however that she felt “overpowered, each emotionally and bodily.” The following day she was given 4,000 Ghanaian cedi ($350) in money by Adjaye with out clarification.
A 12 months later, in 2019, Maya mentioned she was as soon as once more sexually assaulted after being pressured to enter a disabled toilet at an airport in Johannesburg. Adjaye denies making any of the alleged sexual advances or funds.
Shortly afterwards, Maya mentioned she tried to report the alleged incident with Adjaye’s London workplace, with the Ghanaian police, and with Adjaye himself. In January 2020, she was abruptly dismissed and apparently obtained a stop and desist letter from Adjaye’s attorneys. A subsequent try to contact Adjaye with a request for monetary compensation prompted a second stop and desist letter accusing her of extortion.
The third lady, dubbed “Dunia,” mentioned she was sexually assaulted in 2019 after assembly Adjaye for a dinner to debate enterprise concepts. “He informed me to be woman and be quiet,” she mentioned. Eager to show her skilled value, she started working for him as a communications and advertising specialist till March 2020. This era was allegedly marked by controlling behaviour, emotional, and sexual abuse. Dunia felt persistently undermined, in some instances as a consequence of her race. She recalled being frightened of crossing Adjaye as a consequence of his appreciable energy and affect. Adjaye has admitted to an ongoing sexual relationship with Dunia however rejected claims that it was abusive or coerced.
A number of different former staff of Adjaye Associates additionally reported a poisonous work tradition, feeling “very taken benefit of” and described the corporate as a “character cult.”
“I completely reject any claims of sexual misconduct, abuse, or felony wrongdoing,” Adjaye informed the Monetary Instances. “These allegations are unfaithful, distressing for me and my household and run counter to every thing I stand for.”
“I’m ashamed to say that I entered into relationships which although completely consensual, blurred the boundaries between my skilled and private lives. I’m deeply sorry. To revive belief and accountability, I will probably be instantly looking for skilled assist with a purpose to study from these errors to make sure that they by no means occur once more.”
The three womens’ accounts have been corroborated by the Monetary Instances, which reviewed written proof together with e-mail exchanges, financial institution statements, and interviewed colleagues, household, and mates.
Along with his main architectural tasks, Adjaye can be identified for his sculptural artworks, together with work that’s on view on the 2023 Venice Structure Biennale and the Counterpublic triennial in St. Louis.
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