In the wake of allegations of sexual misconduct, Jonathan Weedman is stepping down as the executive director of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles.
The Chorus’s board of directors announced Weedman’s departure today, following a meeting on Wednesday where the board also discussed the non-profit organization’s serious financial problems.
In its announcement of Weedman’s departure, the board cited his work over the past two years on “the groundbreaking Dos Coros Una Voz concert with the Mexico City Gay Men’s Chorus, the launch of the first peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns, and the expansion of GMCLA’s educational programs and community outreach under his leadership.”
“We thank him for him leadership and wish him well in all his future endeavors.”
Weedman’s contract with GMCLA was set to expire in March and the board voted not to renew it. The announcement said that an interim executive director would be named soon. GMCLA, headquartered in West Hollywood, is in its 40th season as one of the leading LGBT-arts organizations in the country.
Weedman’s departure follows an allegation that he forced a young chorus member to perform oral sex on him while he was working at Weedman’s Pasadena home. Weedman has denied that allegation, which was investigated by GMCLA after WEHOville reached out to members of its board of directors to inquire about it. An investigator hired by GMCLA reported that he couldn’t find evidence to substantiate the charges, which GMCLA Chair John Duran has used to support his argument that the allegation is untrue.
GMCLA also is struggling with serious debt. A review of its federal tax returns shows that revenue, which had been growing steadily over the past five years, in 2017 fell 21% to $1.36 million. It was in January of that year that GMCLA hired Weedman, a former senior vice president of the Wells Fargo Foundation, for the executive director’s job. GMCLA also saw a 7.5% reduction in expenses in 2017. But with the decline in revenue, that still left the organization with a loss of $227,000. GMCLA’s IRS 2018 tax return is not yet available. At its meeting on Wednesday, the board voted not to file for bankruptcy protection.
Duran himself has come under criticism after three allegations of sexual misconduct by him with young members of the Chorus were reported in the Los Angeles Times. Duran has denied those allegations as well. As a result of what he described as a “toxic atmosphere” at GMCLA, whose board he has chaired for years, Duran said he would step off the board at the end of the music organization’s season this summer.
Duran also is being pressed by several City Council members and some community leaders to step down from his role as mayor of the City of West Hollywood. Others, including prominent local LGBTQ organizations such as the Stonewall Democrats, are demanding that Duran step off the City Council, where he has served for more than 18 years. Duran has said he will not resign from the City Council.
Calls for Duran to leave the City Council also have come from the Korean-American Democratic Committee and API Equality-LA, an Asian and Pacific Islander LGBTQ community organization after Duran was quoted saying that an accusation that he stuck his hand down the underwear of a young Asian man was demonstrably untrue because “he’s a skinny Korean kid with pimples on his cheek.” GMCLA issued a statement yesterday criticizing Duran for those remarks, as did Christopher Street West, which stages the annual L.A. Pride parade and festival.