The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) announced on Monday July 13 that it would immediately terminate the contract of its director general and curator, the Frenchwoman Nathalie Bondil, citing accusations of psychological harassment in particular.
The board of directors explained in a press release having taken ” with regret “ this decision about Mme Bondil. This graduate of the Ecole du Louvre arrived at the MMFA in 1999 and has directed it since 2007.
“Since last year, the museum has seen several departures of key employees and has been made aware of disturbing testimonies from employees reporting an obvious deterioration in the working climate”, specifies the press release.
A “toxic” work environment
Alerted by the union in the fall, the board of directors says it has mandated an outside firm to “Establish an independent diagnosis”. The report prepared by this firm mentioned a work environment qualified as “Toxic” by “Certain employees”, according to the board.
“Over the past few months, the board’s repeated attempts to find a solution to this intolerable situation have come up against M’s inflexibility.me Bondil and his denial of several conclusions, however, without appeal from the report ”, according to the press release.
In addition, “Allegations of psychological harassment within the museum’s conservation department persist”, according to the press release. Counsel relies on “Categorical refusal” of Mme Bondil to accept a compromise for “Immediately terminate employment”, rather than at the end of his contract, in June 2021.
Quebec Minister of Culture “amazed”
“Madame Bondil contributed significantly to the development of the museum”, recognizes the council, which qualifies « regrettable » the end of a “Remarkable association of more than twenty-one years”.
“It is however sad to note that the humanist face of the museum established by Mrs. Bondil did not find an echo inside its walls”, says the chairman of the board, Michel de la Cheneliere, who will act in the interim pending the appointment of a successor.
Thursday, Mme Bondil had received the support of the Minister of culture of Quebec, Nathalie Roy, “Stunned” by this case.
“Nathalie Bondil is a world leader in the museum world – and a female general manager, what’s more – who does a remarkable job at the MMFA, she said on a daily basis The Press. I do not understand why the board of directors would want to deprive itself of its services when the great museums of this world are tearing it away. “
Mme Bondil had not publicly responded to his ouster on Monday afternoon.