5 women accuse starchitect Richard Meier of sexual harassment

Brunilde Fioravanti
Marzo 14, 2018

Because of the sexual harassment allegations made against Richard Meier '56, Cornell will not accept his recent endowment.

"I am deeply troubled and embarrassed by the accounts of several women who were offended by my words and actions", Meier said in a statement on the firm's website.

The earliest assaults detailed in the Times report took place in the 1980s, and the most recent in the late 2000s. Within two months, she said, Meier allegedly "started to roll my underwear around in his fingers" while guiding her around an office holiday party with his hand on the small of her back. He dragged her down a hallway and pushed her onto his bed as she protested.

A fifth woman not associated with the firm accused Meier of pulling her onto a bed at his home during an incident in the 1980s in LA.

In 2009, Meier's then-assistant Laura Trimble Elbogen was 24 and had not yet completed a full work week.

According to the Times, Meier's accusers include four women who worked for the Pritzker Prize victor and a fifth who says Meier harassed her in his home during a dinner party.

Among the accusations leveled at Meier are that he exposed himself to a woman in his NY apartment, grabbed a woman's underwear through her dress at a practice party, and "asking a woman to undress in his apartment so she could be photographed".

Alexis Zamlich, 31, a then-communications assistant at Meier's firm, Robert Meier & Partner Architect, told The Times that Meier exposed himself to her, the same year, at his apartment, where she was asked to help out with Meier's collages every Friday. She left and later told management, according to the Times.

Meier has been regarded as one of the art world's most important architects. Although he has apologized, the reported behavior is unacceptable. He also announced that he will be taking a six-month leave from his firm, which he established in 1963 in NY. Therefore, we will decline his new gift to name the chair of the Department of Architecture, and we are cancelling the event that had been planned for next week to celebrate the gift.

"We will swiftly explore what additional actions are appropriate" regarding previous gifts, Kleinman said. His firm has also worked on the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Mana Contemporary in Jersey City, New Jersey, the Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona, and the home of ARTnews "Top 200" collectors Cindy and Howard Rachofsky.

Meier won the coveted Pritzker Prize in 1984 and was awarded a gold medal in architecture from the Academy of Arts and Letters in 2008.

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