New developments in the case of Tommy Bennett, the gay former staffer in Rev. Jesse Jackson's Rainbow PUSH Coalition who filed a stunning complaint alleging anti-gay discrimination and sexual harassment. Bennett has now filed a lawsuit with similar claims, reports Windy City Times.
The initial charge filed with the City of Chicago Commission on Human Relations was revealed last April. Bennett claimed that he experienced ongoing harassment soon after he was hired in 2007. Bennett says that he was later demoted to Jackson's travel assistant, asked to escort women to Jackson's room and "clean up after sexual intercourse", and that the reverend demanded oral sex.
The lawsuit, among other things, claims that Bennett's superiors ignored his complaints and that he was eventually let go because of his sexual orientation. Bennett is seeking at least $98,300 in lost income and benefits and $350,000 for emotional distress and other damages.
Rainbow PUSH emailed Windy City Times that it is standing by its previous statement issued when Bennett filed his complaint. That statement says, "The Rainbow PUSH Coalition and Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr. unequivocally denies Tommy Bennett's false claims of harassment, retaliation and discrimination. We are fully cooperating with the Chicago Commission on Human Relations and expect to be fully exonerated. ... His inflammatory allegations are an attempt to malign Rev. Jackson and the organization, and are hurtful and harmful to the progressive community."
Bennett told Windy City Times said "the lawsuit speaks for itself."
Bennett was a member of President Obama's LGBT leadership council. Bennett was also known for being a gay-themed gossip personality on The Tom Joyner Morning Show.
Rev Jackson and PUSH have a long record of support for LGBT and HIV/AIDS issues, dating back to Jackson's presidential bids in the 1980s. This is believed to be the first time he has been accused of harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Read more at Windy City Times ...
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