Another racism lawsuit has been levied against Planned Parenthood, this time by Samuel Ricardo Mitchell Jr., a Black ordained Pastor, described by Planned Parenthood of Greater New York (PPGNY) as the affiliate’s Chief Operating Officer. Mitchell claimed comments made by PPGNY leadership were “stained with racist overtones” and alleges he was passed over for promotion in favor of a white staffer and discriminated against for his religion.
The complaint, filed this week in a New York District Court and obtained by the NY Daily News, alleges that Mitchell claimed he was held to a different standard than other employees at Planned Parenthood and was passed over in favor of a white woman, the paper wrote.
In response, Planned Parenthood spokesperson Jacquelyn Marrero, has denied the allegations.
Mitchell was hired by Planned Parenthood following the ousting of PPGNY’s then-CEO Laura McQuade in 2020, after hundreds of past and current PPGNY employees published an open letter which alleged the abortion organization was “founded by a racist white woman” and had a “present steeped in white supremacy.”
Planned Parenthood’s present-day “systemic racism” was later acknowledged by multiple affiliates. Nineteen separate Planned Parenthood affiliates with operations in 33 states issued statements admitting to racism. An internal audit also confirmed that Planned Parenthood Federation of America has a racism problem.
According to the NY Daily News, “The Black woman who replaced McQuade on an interim basis, Joy Callaway, brought in Mitchell, part of her effort to change the organization’s culture. But she was soon replaced, and Mitchell was passed over.”
As a result, the complaint states, Mitchell was denied payment of a $13,000 bonus. “[I]n or around August 2022, shortly following Plaintiff’s complaint, and despite Plaintiff being the second in command as PPGNY COO, PPGNY announced that Plaintiff’s white, Caucasian female peer, Rosalba Messina… would assume the duties of acting PPGNY interim CEO. Plaintiff, as COO, was the second in command and under long standing policy and custom he should have been elevated to the position of interim CEO,” the complaint read.
The court document also alleged that Gillian Dean, PPGNY’s Medical Director, as well as Andrea Dean, a PPGNY Board Treasurer, referred to Mitchell with “cruelly racist stereotypes” which included “‘ANGRY,’ ‘OFFENSIVE,’ ‘OUT OF CONTROL,’ ‘HARSH,’ and ‘AGGRESSIVE.'”
“This lawsuit is meant to shine a light on the discriminatory and retaliatory employment practices that permeate the organization and bring justice to Mr. Mitchell for the unrelenting discriminatory practices he has and continues to endure,” the lawsuit states.
Discrimination on basis of race, religion, disability
Mitchell claimed in his complaint that he was targeted for retaliation, writing that Planned Parenthood’s “practice of discrimination and hostile work environment based upon his age, race, color, disability, religion, and gender and in retaliation for complaining about PPGNY’s discriminatory actions and other wrongdoing.”
These included a “disproportionate number of background checks” as well as religious attacks.
“Plaintiff was subjected to religious discrimination in the form of comments made by several PPGNY board members insinuating that Christians and pastors, like Plaintiff, were not welcome to work for PPGNY,” the lawsuit states.
“These comments had the purpose and effect of negatively altering Plaintiff’s work environment. Plaintiff was shunned by board members who made these comments. Non-African American, nondisabled, non-Christian ministers were not treated in a similar fashion,” the complaint stated.
“Additionally,” Mitchell’s lawsuit reads, “members of the PPGNY board conspired to force former PPGNY CEO to interrogate Plaintiff’s pastor pursuant to obtaining a statement on Plaintiff’s church’s stance on abortion, in the hopes that they could paint Plaintiff and/or Plaintiff’s church as ‘pro-life’ in a particularly invasive attempt to terminate Plaintiff’s employment. Non-African American, non-Christian, non-disabled employees were not subjected to similar harassment,” he alleged.
Margaret Sanger promoted
Mitchell and his attorneys allegedly claimed that Planned Parenthood’s racist “white supremacist” founder, Margaret Sanger for which the PPGNY affiliate was named, continues to be promoted by the corporation.
“Planned Parenthood was started by Margaret Sanger who was an unabashed racist, someone who believed in eugenics and someone who was a sympathizer for the Ku Klux Klan,” Mitchell’s lawyer, Derek Sells allegedly stated in a press conference about the filing. He was referring to a speech the Planned Parenthood founder gave to the Women’s Branch of the Klu Klux Klan, something Sanger boasted about in her autobiography.
“She was the one that founded Planned Parenthood and she is still featured by that organization as one of its leaders in this day and age where we have cancel culture where people like Harvey Weinstein can be canceled where confederate generals who were immortalized with statues are taken down,” Sells added.
“As late as April 2021, Planned Parenthood’s leadership acknowledged that Sanger was coddled by the organization and protected despite her discriminatory animus,” the lawsuit stated. “While this statement was meant to reflect a new beginning for the Planned Parenthood organization as it relates to addressing issues of racial, gender, and disability equality within its own walls, the reality is that Planned Parenthood continues to be run by people who are openly hostile to racial minorities, the disabled, older workers and those who complain about discriminatory practices.”
Past accusations of Planned Parenthood racism
Mitchell’s case follows a discrimination lawsuit filed by former Planned Parenthood employee Nicole Moore, whose complaint laid out a damning case alleging Planned Parenthood “tokenized” staff of color and often retaliated against them when they spoke up. The 51-page lawsuit is replete with allegations of tokenism, mistreatment, and retaliation; it also alleges that Planned Parenthood “has not taken a single step to remedy the race discrimination which continues to harm its staff of color.”
In an interview she conducted with ReproJobs, Moore referred to Planned Parenthood as a “behemoth” and claimed that she was “being punished for speaking out about racism in the workplace.”
“I’m totally blown away by the media’s interest in my lawsuit. I think the media is interested because racism at Planned Parenthood has been an open secret for a long time and finally there’s a face they can tie to this story of discrimination,” Moore said.
Planned Parenthood’s racism is indeed known; Live Action News has documented multiple accusations against the tax-funded Planned Parenthood organization here.
‘White dominant culture at Planned Parenthood’
“Mr. Mitchell has suffered humiliating comments. He has been denigrated,” Mitchell’s lawyer, Derek Sells told NY Daily News. “He has been ostracized and minimized by the white dominant culture at Planned Parenthood. This lawsuit is meant to correct that, and make this organization true to what it should be, which is equality for all.”
“I’m here to be a voice for the Black and brown people, specifically, men of color that this organization continues to discriminate against,” Mitchell said, according to the Daily News. “The organization continues to uphold its white systemic racism from the board level to the floor and it must stop.”
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