"I am deeply troubled and embarrassed by the accounts of several women who were offended by my words and actions", Meier said in a statement on the firm's website. "Effective today, I am taking a six-month leave of absence as Founder and Managing Partner". "I am leaving the company in the hands of a dedicated and outstanding senior management team, which has spent the past three decades serving our clients and building our firm's success", he said.
Following the sexual harassment revelations, Cornell University announced it would "decline his new gift to name the chair of the Department of Architecture".
The warnings Lee mentioned came from Lisetta Koe, who was a communications manager for the firm in 2000. The Getty is committed to a safe and respectful workplace for all.
The earliest assaults detailed in the Times report took place in the 1980s, and the most recent in the late 2000s. Lee said Koe described Meier as "always chasing women, and nothing stopped him" and said she once turned down Meier's attempt to come on to her. She managed to fight him off, and has dealt with the trauma for decades. When she tried to leave, following the non consensual kiss, he dragged her by her arm toward his bedroom, she told The Times. That same year, Meier exposed himself to Alexis Zamlich, a 22-year-old communications assistant at his firm. The company also instituted a sex-harassment training that Meier had to attend, Johnson said.
However, Meier had already established a reputation by then. A third woman said Meier grabbed her underwear through her dress at a holiday party.
Laura Trimble Elbogen, 33, told The Times that Meier invited her to his apartment in 2009 to celebrate her new job as his assistant, where he asked her to undress so he could take her photograph. Monk told The Times that she had received warnings from other people in the company when she first joined and was told to not to stay at the office alone at night.
According to the Times, Meier's accusers include four women who worked for the Pritzker Prize victor and a fifth who says Meier harassed her in his home during a dinner party. Although he has apologized, the reported behavior is unacceptable.
Simitch was expected to join Meier at the March 19 event celebrating the gift, which has been cancelled. We will swiftly explore what additional actions are appropriate with regard to endowments for professorships and scholarships previously donated to Cornell.
Meier won the coveted Pritzker Prize in 1984 and was awarded a gold medal in architecture from the Academy of Arts and Letters in 2008. His firm has also worked on the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Mana Contemporary in Jersey City, New Jersey, the Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona, and the home of ARTnews "Top 200" collectors Cindy and Howard Rachofsky.
The Pritzker Prize victor founded Richard Meier & Partners Architects, a firm that has done work for The Hague, the Getty Center in in Los Angles, and is responsible for a glass tower on Prospect Park that overlooks Brooklyn's Grand Army Plaza.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.