Tommy R. Bennett filed a complaint with the Chicago Commission on Human Relations, alleging Jackson fired him without cause and that the civil rights leader humiliated him. Bennett claims Jackson forced him to perform “uncomfortable” tasks, including escorting women to hotel rooms to meet Jackson for sex and to "clean up his room after sexual intercourse with women."
“The Rainbow PUSH Coalition and Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., unequivocally deny Tommy Bennett’s false claims of harassment, retaliation and discrimination,” PUSH spokeswoman Lauren Love said in a written statement. “We are fully cooperating with the Chicago Commission on Human Relations and expect to be fully exonerated.”
The statement goes on to say that Bennett’s “inflammatory allegations are an attempt to malign Rev. Jackson and the organization, and are hurtful and harmful to the progressive community.” ...
Bennett could not be reached for comment Thursday, but his attorney, Thomas V. Leverso, said his client, for a time, “actually enjoyed the work in terms of his actual job duties, but it became increasingly bad and homophobic.”
Under the right circumstances, Leverso said, Bennett would return to PUSH. “He believes that gay rights are civil rights,” Leverso said. “He believes in that organization reaching the potential of its message, which is that everyone has equal civil rights.”
Bennett also related an anecdote where he says the reverend demanded oral sex, and where he was instructed to apply ointment to Jackson's inner thigh.
Bennett is a member of President Obama's LGBT Leadership council. Bennett is seeking $98,300 for back pay, $350,000 for emotional distress and punitive damages "and an amendment of Rainbow PUSH's non-discrimination policy to include sexual orientation and gender identity."
Assuming these and the other claims are true, it's surprising Bennett would express a desire to return to PUSH.
Did You Read ... ?
Gay Staffer Files Sexual Harassment Complaint Against Jackson