Benjamin Genocchio is no longer executive director of the Armory Show, ARTnews has learned. The shake-up comes hours after the New York Times published a story in which multiple women accused Genocchio of sexual harassment, with allegations ranging from what the accusers deemed inappropriate remarks to multiple instances of unwelcome touching.
“The Armory Show seeks to maintain a respectful workplace and prohibits harassment or discrimination of any kind,” reads a statement from the Armory Show’s communications department that was provided to ARTnews. “After allegations were made against Mr. Genocchio in the spring of 2017, we immediately followed our procedures and initiated an investigation using outside counsel. We concluded that Mr. Genocchio’s conduct did not rise to the level of sexual harassment. We have only recently learned of the allegations related to Mr. Genocchio’s previous employment. At this time, Deputy Director Nicole Berry has assumed the role of Executive Director of The Armory Show. Nicole and the entire Armory team are committed to producing a very successful fair in March 2018.”
Berry has been the deputy director of the fair since decamping from Expo Chicago last year.
In the Times story, five women told the reporter Robin Pogrebin that Genocchio had groped them in some fashion, eight alleged that he had abused them verbally, and eleven more said they had witnessed or heard about such instances occurring in the workplace.
Genocchio told the Times in a statement, “Launching start-up news websites definitely led to conflicts with a few employees, but I never intentionally acted in an inappropriate manner nor spoke to or touched a colleague in a sexually inappropriate way. To the extent my behavior was perceived as disrespectful, I deeply and sincerely apologize and will ensure it does not happen again.”
When asked whether Genocchio would be remaining with the fair in any capacity, a representative for the Armory Show declined to comment. Genocchio did not respond to an inquiry.
Update, November 9, 9:02 a.m.: Artnet leadership has released a statement that is included in the site’s report on the change of directors at the Armory Show. It begins, “As you can well imagine, artnet is deeply concerned about Robin Pogrebin’s inferences about the culture here, but artnet respects the privacy of its employees—past and present—and therefore, we will not comment on specific personnel matters, even when characterizations by others of such matters are inaccurate.” The statement goes on to ensure that the leadership is committed to creating an office environment free of harassment, and notes that “a majority of our full-time employees are female; more women than men populate our Senior Leadership Team; and women on average tend to be employed by artnet longer than men.”