John Duran, a longtime board chairman and fundraiser for the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles is stepping down at the end of the season over allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment.
Duran who is the current mayor of West Hollywood has denied the allegations and stated that he was planning on leaving the chorus after 20 years of service. His leaving is in part to a “toxic” climate within the organization and the false allegations against him.
In an interview three current or former chorus members said that Duran acted inappropriately towards them and when reported to chorus membership committee they did nothing to address their concerns.
Brain Phillip Nichoalds a chorus member told the Los Angeles Times that Duran made sexually inappropriate comments and put his hand inside of the waistband of his pants. Nichoalds was elected to the membership committee, he learned of other complaints against Duran.
Other former chorus members said they quit the group because of the harassment and subsequent inaction.
Jason Tong said he was forced to leave the chorus after Duran placed his hand inside of the waistband of his underwear before a show. Tong says the incident was “a traumatic and shocking experience.”
Duran, for his part, says he was only made aware of Tong’s accusations, no one else’s, and no corroborating evidence was found in the investigation that followed.
This is a sad chapter in the organization’s history, one known for the positive work in the community Several members have started using the hashtag #ThisIsEnough.
It’s also compounded by the fact that when Duran was a West Hollywood city councilman, he settled a sexual harassment suit for $500,000, brought by a former aide.