I confess to having hoped the charges against Pacelle weren’t true. Having known him through my son, who worked at the HSUS until last April, I was relieved by the board’s decision. An outside law firm had conducted a month-long investigation into the allegations and, based on the findings, the board voted in favor of Pacelle staying. Even though many were disappointed, including the three initial accusers — and seven board members who immediately resigned — it seemed to me that justice had been better served by a fair process and the “jury’s” verdict than through the usual shoot-first-ask-questions-later course of events.
His resignation may be viewed as correct, though not necessarily for the organization he built or the animals it has served thanks to Pacelle’s stewardship, advocacy and legendary work ethic. No person is all one thing, good or bad, and Pacelle is no exception.
My admiration for the many women across industries who have found the courage to come forward the past few months can’t be overstated. Nevertheless, I remain uncomfortable with aspects of the me-too methodology, wherein accusation equals indictment, public shaming is tantamount to conviction and sentencing usually means ruin.