Bono Apologizes for the Abuse That Occurred Within His Charity in South Africa
In 1999, U2 frontman Bono helped establish ONE, a charity in
South Africa that works to end poverty and preventable disease.
Accusations of abuse at the organization have recently
resurfaced, and Bono has come forward to apologize.
The New York Times
reports that the allegations came from employees who worked
in ONE’s Johannesburg office form 2011 to 2015, and include
accounts of bullying, abuse, and in one instance, “sexual
coercion.” One employee said she was demoted after refusing to
have sex with a Tanzanian minister and another claims her boss
ordered her to work in their own household doing chores.
Altogether, seven employees have filed a lawsuit against ONE,
seeking $5 million in damages.
Bono gave a
statement to the Daily Mail on Sunday regarding
the lawsuit, saying he extremely angry that the abuse ever took
“We are all deeply sorry. I hate bullying, can’t stand it,”
he told the paper.
“The poorest people in the poorest places being bullied by
their circumstance is the reason we set up ONE.
“So to discover last November that there were serious and
multiple allegations of bullying in our office in
Johannesburg left me and the ONE board reeling and furious.”
The abuse allegations resurfaced in November of 2017, when a
former employee at ONE named Idriss Ali Nassah took a walk down
memory lane after the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke, and
detailed some of the instances of harassment and abuse at the
Nassah’s tweets opened the floodgates, and soon other employees
were sharing their bad experiences. ONE opened up an official
investigation, supported by their new chief executive, Gayle
Smith. (The previous chief executive died in 2016.) The
investigation supported the allegations, and Smith called the
situation an “institutional failure.”
Bono has offered to meet with employees to apologize in person,
saying that “the head office failed to protect those employees
and I need to take some responsibility for that.”