On Tuesday, the New York Times reported that the renowned 83-year-old architect Richard Meier was accused of sexual harassment by five women, including four who had previously worked for him.
Two women who previously worked for Meier told the Times that sometime in the past 10 years they were sent to his New York apartment, and that, once there, he exposed himself to them. Another woman, also a former colleague, alleged that Meier grabbed her underwear through her dress at a holiday party.
A fourth woman who worked for Meieir said that he requested she undress at his apartment then allow him to photograph her. The fifth woman, who did not work at Meier’s firm, detailed to the Times an alleged incident from the ’80s where, she says, Meier pulled her onto a bed with such force that she wound up fleeing his home.
When the Times informed Meier of the allegations against him, he responded by announcing he would take a six-month leave from the firm he founded and manages:
“I am deeply troubled and embarrassed by the accounts of several women who were offended by my words and actions. While our recollections may differ, I sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended by my behavior. I am leaving the company in the hands of a dedicated and outstanding senior management team, which has spent the past three decades serving our clients and building our firm’s success.”
As the Times notes (in fact, they made it their lede, which was rather missing the point), Meier is a famous and accomplished architect. He designed the Getty Center in Los Angeles, is a Pritzker Prize winner, and in January established a scholarship program at Cornell University (his alma mater), intended to “recruit and retain the most talented women applicants.”
On Wednesday, Sotheby’s announced that, in light of the allegations against Meier, they would be discontinuing an exhibit of his collages and silk-screens.