Royal Museums of Fine Arts Director Michel Draguet faces allegations of making sexist, racist remarks at employees.
The news first broke at the RTBF (a Belgian public broadcaster) under their Les Grenades project. According to RTBF, an anonymous employee accused Draguet of making sexist and racist remarks, while also calling him someone “stuck in the past century”. Earlier, on December 16, 31 employees of the museum wrote an open letter complaining about the appalling working conditions at the museum. After RTBF broke the news, several other employees (all anonymous) further described the negative behavior of the director.
The allegations claim that Michel Draguet often makes sexist and racist remarks toward the employees. He uses sexism as a form of intimation – including mocking employees who are effeminate in appearance. Another employee alleged that there is an unofficial ban on using “politically correct” language in any museum communication. Many female employees claimed that Draguet often talked to them in inappropriate or flirtatious tones. There were also allegations of the director disregarding the discussion around an ongoing Picasso exhibition after re-evaluations of the artist’s misogynistic actions surfaced. One employee alleged that the director had used French slang, derogatory to homosexuals, towards the staff.
The allegations also suggested that many employees have been fired or quit due to the director in recent months. However, Michel Draguet categorically denied the allegations. Draguet claimed that he only talked to the employees via official emails that always looped in their department heads and his secretary. He also argued that while he “often use humor to improve the conviviality of meetings”, he does not agree with any of the accusations.
Michel Druguet has been the director of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts in Brussels, Belgium since 2005. Currently, he is seeking his fourth term.