Mark Zuckerberg sued over staff’s alleged mistreatment of household aides

Investigation found no wrongdoing, says tech boss’s personal spokesperson

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Wednesday 27 October 2021 12:00
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Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan have been sued by former household aides over racist and sexist discrimination they claim was inflicted on them by the tech billionaire’s former security chief.

Mia King and a “John Doe” allege they were both subjected to the abuse by Liam Booth, whom they also claim said that Meghan Markle had “polluted the royal blood line”.

Ms King is a Black woman who worked as a security operations assistant, and Doe is a gay and disabled man who worked as a household operations manager, according to Business Insider.

In the lawsuit, filed in San Francisco County, Ms King claimed that Mr Booth would often call her “ghetto” and complain about Ms Markle, who is bi-racial and married to Prince Harry.

Ms King claims that Mr Booth repeatedly made comments that she was not qualified for her job and that she was only hired because she was a Black woman, according to the lawsuit that was filed last month.

Doe also alleges that Mr Booth, a former Secret Service agent, repeatedly made comments about his sexual orientation, and slapped his groin at a restaurant in 2018.

The lawsuit states that other employees had witnessed Mr Booth allegedly groping Doe at Mr Zuckerberg’s estate in Montana, and also imitating “lewd sex acts” in front of him.

Mr Booth resigned in 2019 following an investigation into the complaints, according to Business Insider.

Mr Zuckerberg and his wife are named in the suit in their capacity as employers who allegedly allowed the discrimination to take place.

Their personal spokesperson said that the probe had found no evidence of any wrongdoing.

“The family office takes complaints of workplace misconduct very seriously and promptly investigates all such matters. In this case, almost all of the allegations in these complaints were first raised through counsel, after both employees had left the company, and in connection with significant monetary demands,” Ben LaBolt told The Independent in a statement.

“Nevertheless, when their lawyers shared these concerns, both our HR Department and outside counsel conducted separate multi-week investigations into the allegations, including by conducting numerous interviews of their colleagues and reviewing other relevant documents and information.

“Following these thorough investigations, these allegations simply could not be substantiated. We firmly believe that these employees were treated fairly and respectfully and the family office is confident that it will defeat these claims.”

And he added: “As we previously stated when these claims were anonymously leaked to the media over two years ago, our family office follows a strict code of conduct that requires appropriate behavior from all members of our teams.

“It is our expectation that each of our employees adheres to this code of conduct. Any complaint made to our HR personnel is taken seriously and is investigated and addressed.

“We are proud of the team of professionals who work in the family office and are confident that these claims, which seek to unfairly disparage our colleagues, will fail.”

Also named in the suit are Doe’s boss Brian Mosteller, and Monica Moorhouse, an ex-human resources employee for the family office.

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