Jerry Sandusky’s Son, Protesters at Whole Foods CEO Speech Urge "Sexual Violence Accountability"

Press Release ( - San Francisco, California - Feb 15, 2017 - A consortium of advocacy groups led by Peaceful Hearts Foundation, founded by Matthew Sandusky, one of Jerry Sandusky’s six adopted sons, is organizing a protest at a speech by Whole Foods CEO John Mackey in San Francisco on February 28, urging “sexual violence accountability.”

Mackey is the scheduled keynote speaker at HigherPurpose17: Conscious Capitalism Bay Area Chapter Conference​. He is a founding board member of nonprofit Conscious Capitalism, Inc.​, and co-author of the book Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business.

John Mackey, Whole Foods Market and Conscious Capitalism boards of directors have an opportunity to reach millions with an important message. Instead of maintaining the societal norm of silence around these issues, I would like to see them take a stand against child sexual abuse publicly — take a leadership role. Mackey should disavow Marc Gafni.

Matthew Sandusky, Founder & Executive Director, Peaceful Hearts Foundation

Advocacy leaders are calling for Mackey to disavow Marc Gafni, a former New York rabbi, now leader of California nonprofit think tank The Center for Integral Wisdom.

The New York Times first reported Mackey’s association with Gafni in December 2015, revealing Gafni’s “troubled past,” allegations of sexual abuse. The Times reported Gafni describing one of his accusers:

“She was 14 going on 35, and I never forced her.” The Times also reported:

“A co-founder of Whole Foods, John Mackey, a proponent of conscious capitalism, calls Mr. Gafni ‘a bold visionary.’ He is a chairman of the executive board of Mr. Gafni’s center, and he hosts board meetings at his Texas ranch.”

A wave of follow-up items ensued.

The New York Daily News reported Gafni denying allegations of abusing two girls, ages 13 and 16 in the 1980s; he stated they were willing partners.

Sara Kabakov identified herself as the then-girl whom Gafni described as “14 going on 35.” She came forward publicly for the first time, writing in the Forward: “I Was 13 When Marc Gafni’s Abuse Began.”

More than 100 rabbis and Jewish leaders undersigned a petition to Whole Foods: “Stop Marc Gafni from Abusing Again,” citing, “many, repeated and serious allegations, both public and private, former and recent.”

The Washington Post reported on coordinated protests at Whole Foods stores in New York City and Los Angeles in May 2016. Matthew Sandusky joined protesters in Manhattan.

Mackey issued a statement in June, declaring his loyalty to Gafni, as reported by the Forward.

According to a Whole Foods Market statement, Mackey is no longer on the board of directors of Gafni’s center. Mackey’s Whole Foods Market Blog says his involvement with Gafni is “strictly a personal relationship.”

A spokesman for Gafni said, “There was no break between Mackey and Gafni,” as reported by the Forward.

In November, soon after news of Donald Trump’s vulgar brag of sexual assault made headlines, “Grab them by the p***y,” Gafni tweeted, “Donald Trump is an Outrageous Lover.”

In December 2016, 130 advocates, including leaders from Faculty Against Rape (FAR) and the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence (NAESV), signed an open letter, published on Feminine Collective, to board members of Whole Foods And Conscious Capitalism, urging Mackey to disavow Gafni.

Matthew Sandusky said:

“John Mackey, Whole Foods Market and Conscious Capitalism boards of directors have an opportunity to reach millions with an important message. Instead of maintaining the societal norm of silence around these issues, I would like to see them take a stand against child sexual abuse publicly — take a leadership role. Mackey should disavow Marc Gafni.”

Industry experts, business and ethics professors have criticized Mackey, noting potential ramifications for the two corporations he leads.

Sandra J. Sucher, Professor of Management Practice, Joseph L. Rice, III Faculty Fellow, Harvard Business School, and author, The Moral Leader: Challenges, Tools, and Insights, said:

“Mackey’s fellow board members of Whole Foods and Conscious Capitalism have a legal duty of care to act in and protect the best interests of their organizations. They need to ask how Mackey’s association with Gafni may affect the reputation of the entities.”

Gafni has never been charged with a crime. Protest co-organizers the Stop Abuse Campaign and PAC Protect NY Kids are lobbying New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and lawmakers to pass the Child Victims Act.

The proposed legislation would eliminate statutes of limitations for claims of child sexual abuse in New York state, where Gafni’s accusers allege they were abused. The advocacy groups have authored a petition to state lawmakers, pushing for the bill’s enactment, garnering more than 69,000 signatures.

Andrew Willis, CEO of the Stop Abuse Campaign said:

“New York state’s statute of limitations laws, some of the strictest in the nation, protect sexual predators and not the children they prey on. Victims and survivors of child sexual abuse continue to be silenced by New York’s laws. The Child Victims Act allows survivors to hold their abusers responsible and protect today’s children.

“Whole Foods CEO Mackey’s statement of loyalty to Gafni, who is protected by statutes of limitations, perpetuates the culture of enabling. Mackey should disavow his friend.”

Scheduled speakers at the protest include Nikki DuBose, a former model turned author and advocate, and board member of Peaceful Hearts Foundation. She said:

“I will always defend children. Adults can make the decision to fight the fight with me, or become like the abusers themselves when they don’t stand up for what’s right.”


Whole Foods CEO & Sexual Violence Accountability

When: Tuesday, February 28, 2017, 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM PST

Where: Omni Hotel, 500 California Street, San Francisco, California 94104

Source : Peaceful Hearts Foundation

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