More than a month after news broke that Mark Zuckerberg’s chief security officer, Liam Booth, had been accused of sexual misconduct and making racist and transphobic comments, he is now leaving his role with the Zuckerberg family’s private office. Despite the departure, a spokesperson for the office claims an investigation by an outside law office could not verify the allegations.
Business Insider first reported in May that Booth—the security chief for both Zuckerberg’s family office as well as the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the family’s education-focused philanthropic organisation—had been accused by two former staffers of misconduct that included disparaging Zuckerberg’s wife, Priscilla Chan, with racist comments and gestures. Booth was also reportedly accused of “horrific levels of sexual harassment and battery” and homophobic and transphobic remarks that included referring to a transgender employee as “it” rather than by the individual’s preferred pronoun.
The allegations were levelled against Booth in legal demand letters viewed by Business Insider and issued to the legal representatives for the companies that supply security services for the Zuckerberg family. The former employees—one is a former executive assistant for Booth, while the other is a staffer for the family who prepped their various homes—secured high-profile attorney Lisa Bloom to represent them and demand compensation for emotional distress and lost wages, according to Business Insider. The outlet added there’s no claim “that Zuckerberg himself was aware of the alleged misconduct.”
Among other racist remarks, Booth was accused in the demand letters of saying that he “didn’t trust Black people” and claiming that he intentionally attempted to thwart Chan’s diversity goals in hiring, Business Insider reported. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative describes its “inclusion philosophy” as seeking to “dismantle systemic inequality and champion equal opportunity.”
Bloom said in a statement to Business Insider this week that as far as her firm was aware, no independent investigation had been conducted by Munger, Tolles & Olson, the law firm representing the Zuckerberg family’s office, into the allegations. However, Ben LaBolt, a spokesperson for the family’s office, said in a statement that investigations were carried out by both the firm as well as the office’s human resources department.
“Over the course of several weeks, both the family office’s HR Department and Munger, Tolles & Olson have conducted separate investigations into the allegations outlined by The Bloom Firm against Liam Booth,” LaBolt said in a statement by email. “These investigations included numerous interviews with Mr. Booth’s colleagues as well as a review of other relevant documents and information. Following these thorough investigations, the serious allegations made against Mr. Booth by the Bloom Firm could not be substantiated.”
LaBolt added: “Mr. Booth knows that minimising distractions is vital to executing the security duties in this role, so he has decided to move on from the family office to pursue other opportunities. The family office is grateful for his service and wishes Mr. Booth the best in his future endeavours.”
Booth’s LinkedIn profile describes him as “an innovative security professional with over 25-years of achievement and experience” in security and law enforcement and identifies him as a former worker with the U.S. Secret Service. He is still listed as employed by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative on the profile.
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