Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, like most ultra-rich members of society, has an extensive security detail that monitors him at all hours of the day, in addition to the litany of staff members responsible for cooking, cleaning, and managing Zuckerberg and his family’s personal affairs.
Yet according to two former employees of Zuckerberg’s personal household and security staff, the chief executive’s personal head of security, a former Secret Service agent named Liam Booth who worked under President Barack Obama, committed sexual harassment and has made racist and other derogatory remarks about Zuckerberg’s wife, Priscilla Chan, and other staffers. The news was first reported this afternoon by Business Insider, and later confirmed by NBC News.
One of the former staffers, who worked as an executive assistant to Booth, says they witnessed Booth utter a sexually demeaning comment toward another staff member of Zuckerberg’s, who is gay, and to later on have groped and inappropriately touched the man at the Palo Alto sushi restaurant Nobu last year. The former security staffer is also accusing of Booth of repeatedly finding reasons to harass her at the workplace, like telling other members of the staff to inform her she had to change clothing because it was distracting. The security staffer says Bloom fired her for “rolling her eyes in a meeting” and complaining about a negative write-up.
Booth, a former Secret Service agent, allegedly groped a fellow staff member in public
Booth, who is not in any way affiliated with Facebook proper, is also being accused by the second former employee, a member of Zuckerberg’s household staff who resigned after going on medical leave earlier this year, of using “it” instead of a transgender staff member’s preferred pronoun and using demeaning language when referring to the individual when speaking to other staffers. Additionally, Booth allegedly made a remark about Chan’s ethnicity when referencing her driving ability, and allegedly once claimed, “he “didn’t trust black people.”
Booth has allegedly made numerous other racist and sexist remarks spanning a variety of topics. Those include the diversity efforts of the chief executive and his wife’s philanthropy organization, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, for which Booth is also chief of security, and the Black Lives Matter movement, according to the former staffers.
The accusations are outlined in a pair of letters sent to Zuckerberg’s private estate by The Bloom Firm, a law firm that represented victims of disgraced Fox News host Bill O’Reilly and is partly responsible for getting O’Reilly fired from the network. The letters, obtained and reviewed by Business Insider, cite “pervasive discriminatory conduct,” “horrific levels of sexual harassment and battery,” and a work environment where employees faced numerous racist, sexist, homophobic, and transphobic comments about themselves and other members of the staff.
Booth is accused of making racist, sexist, and homophobic remarks
The two former staffers are also accusing Brian Mosteller, the managing director of Zuckerberg’s private office and another former Obama staffer, of not taking action against Booth, despite repeated instances where the staffers and others raised objections about his behavior, according to Business Insider. The two former staffers are requesting compensation for lost wages and additional damages related to emotional distress. Neither the duo nor The Bloom Firm are suggesting Zuckerberg is in any way implicated, or even that he was aware of the accusations.
“The family office takes complaints of workplace misconduct very seriously and our human resources team promptly investigates all such matters,” Ben LaBolt, a spokesman for Zuckerberg’s various privately employed entities, told Business Insider in a statement. “The allegations against Liam Booth were brought to the office’s attention for the first time by The Bloom Firm after both former employees had left employment by the family office and engaged legal counsel. As soon as The Bloom Firm presented these allegations, the family office engaged Munger, Tolles & Olson, an outside law firm, to conduct an investigation of all allegations made by The Bloom Firm to determine whether the claims have merit. The investigation is ongoing. Mr. Booth is on administrative leave pending the completion of this investigation.”