Richard Meier Takes Leave of Absence Amid Claims of Sexual Harassment

Richard Meier

The renowned American architect is accused by five women, for a conduct that prefaced for four decades, including touches and exhibitionism.

The award-winning Meier, 83, is accused of exposing himself to two women in his apartment, pouncing on a third woman after throwing her on his bed, propositioning a fourth woman for nude photos, and groping a fifth woman at a party, The New York Times reports.

Meier has taken a six-month leave as a result.

"Under the circumstances, and in consultation with the Meier family, the decision has been made to close our exhibition early", the auction house said in a statement.

In an open letter published on the school's website, architecture dean Kent Kleinman described Meier's behaviour as "unacceptable" and said he would review all previous donations from the architect. We will swiftly explore what additional actions are appropriate with regard to endowments for professorships and scholarships previously donated to Cornell. The women's claims include inappropriate touching at company functions, requests to undress, and instances of Meier exposing himself.

Four women who worked with Meier and a fifth who met him on a project have detailed encounters in which they say he sexually harassed them.

"I am deeply disturbed to learn of the allegations of sexual misconduct by Richard Meier", said Kleinman, whose full title is Gale and Ira Drukier dean of architecture, art and planning.

On Tuesday, Kleinman said that other gifts from Meier to the architecture college - including an endowed professorship in 2010 and the establishment of a graduate scholarship a year ago - are under review.

When Zamlich reported the incident to the partners at Meier's firm, its chief operating officer at the time, Scott Johnson, investigated Zamlich's and Elbogen's complaints. Meier later exposed himself to Lee at his apartment, she said; at a holiday party, he placed his hand on Monk's back and "played with her ... underwear through her dress", she told the Times. He assures in response to article that he remembers what happened in a different way, but still apologizes "to any that might be seen offended" by his behavior. She left, ashamed and embarrassed, and told no one, afraid to lose her new job. Both Stella Lee, who started working for Meier in 2000, and Judi Shade Monk, who began in 2003, told the Times they had been warned about his behavior.

Carol Vena-Mondt - a furniture designer and the only woman among the five who was not Meier's employee - said that Meier "forcefully tried to kiss her", pushed her onto his bed one night in the 1980s and lay on top of her while she told him "no, no, no".

Meier, 83, said he would take immediate leave from Richard Meier & Partners Architects, which has been involved in projects all over the world and has offices in NY and Los Angeles.

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