The progressive public relations firm FitzGibbon Media closed abruptly on Thursday due to several accusations that the company’s president, Trevor FitzGibbon had sexually harassed and assaulted multiple female employees and clients, the Huffington Post reported.
FitzGibbon has been on leave from the firm since Monday, and Al Thomson, the firm’s senior vice president of finance and administration, told employees that the company would close immediately, according to the Huffington Post.
Trevor FitzGibbon confirmed in a statement to the Huffington Post that he initially took leave from the firm before the group ultimately decided to shut down.
“The allegations against me are a distraction to the mission at hand. In order to do what is best for the company, I took a leave of absence. However, it is abundantly clear that an irreconcilable difference has arisen between the FitzGibbon team and me. We had no choice but to make the difficult decision to close FitzGibbon Media,” FitzGibbon said in a statement. “I apologize to my team and our clients for the impact this closing will have on them. I will work to once again regain the trust that was lost.”
The former employees of FitzGibbon Media issued a joint statement on Thursday confirming that there have been multiple incidents of sexual harassment and assault.
“The team that comprised FitzGibbon Media is incredibly sad and disappointed to confirm that allegations have been made against Trevor FitzGibbon, FitzGibbon Media founder and President, for sexual assault and harassment of multiple female staffers,” the statement reads, according to the Huffington Post. “Staffers reported over a half dozen incidents of sexual harassment and at least two involving sexual assault committed by Trevor FitzGibbon against his own employees.”
Employees began to realize the numerous incidents of FitzGibbon’s harassment during a staff retreat a couple of weeks ago, according to the Huffington Post.
Sierra Pedraja, an Austin resident, told the Huffington Post that when she spoke with FitzGibbon about a potential job at the firm, he propositioned her. He asked her if she was open to having any fun, then asked her to meet him in his hotel room, Pedraja told the Huffington Post. The two continued an online correspondence, in which he repeatedly asked for graphic photos of her. She told female employees about FitzGibbon’s behavior, and they began to piece together stories about FitzGibbon’s sexual harassment.
One of Fitzgibbon’s clients also told the Huffington Post that she was asked into his hotel room where he then groped her.
Another female employee told The Guardian that FitzGibbon hugged her “in a way that made me feel uncomfortable” and made comments about her body.
An individual who works in public relations told Jezebel that female staffers at one organization received “creepy gchats and emails” from FitzGibbon.
FitzGibbon Media worked with prominent progressive organizations like NARAL, MoveOn.org, AFL-CIO, and the American Civil Liberties Union.