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Wall Street Journal: Serious allegations against WEF founder Klaus Schwab - Sexual assault and discrimination

Updated: Jul 3

Could it be - sexism, racism and discrimination at the renowned World Economic Forum (WEF), the organizer of the annual World Economic Summit in Davos ("Great Reset")?

In a detailed dossier, the American daily newspaper Wall Street Journal (WSJ) confronts the institution and its founder and chairman Klaus Schwab (86) with precisely these accusations.


For decades, the World Economic Forum, based in Geneva, Switzerland, with around 1000 employees, has allegedly been the scene of sexual harassment, racial discrimination, age discrimination and a poisoned working atmosphere.


Under Schwab, who has led the WEF since its founding in 1971, the organization has allowed "an atmosphere hostile to women and blacks" in the workplace, according to the WSJ.


The account, unusually comprehensive even for such a dossier, lists countless examples that, if true, would have caused outrage even in "unwoken" times. The Wall Street Journal cites "internal complaints, email correspondence and interviews with dozens of current and former Forum employees and others familiar with the Forum's practices". According to the report, the journalists spoke to more than 80 employees, some of whom worked at the Forum as far back as the 1980s.


Being sexually available on demand

Some of them had shared what they described as a common trauma in a WhatsApp group called WEFugees, to which hundreds of former employees belonged. Among other things, they described sexual harassment by senior employees, some of whom are said to still be employed by the forum today.


Two witnesses said they had been harassed by VIPs at Forum meetings in Davos and elsewhere years ago. Female employees were expected to be sexually available to delegates on demand.


In two other recent incidents, employees filed complaints after white Forum managers used the N-word in the presence of black employees. Blacks had filed formal complaints because they had been passed over for promotions or not considered in Davos.


At one point, Schwab instructed his human resources director to fire a group of employees over 50 years old in order to lower the average age of the staff. The HR manager, a former World Bank employee, had resisted and was dismissed by Schwab shortly afterwards.


The revelations are also piquant because the organization, which is best known for its annual VIP meetings in Davos, has set itself the task of improving the world in many respects. One of the WEF phrases, "The Great Reset", has achieved dubious fame.


Conspiracy theorists repeatedly insinuate that the forum is planning to create the "new man" in a thoroughly woke, progressive world.


Gender equality is also high on the WEF agenda. The Forum publishes an annual Global Gender Gap Report, which reports on progress towards gender equality. According to the Wall Street Journal, some of the allegations of mistreatment come from former members of the team that produces these reports.


While a female employee who worked in Geneva in the 2000s confirmed that Schwab never crossed the line into physical contact with her, his lewd comments and behavior were "a terrible thing to go through as a woman."


Forum participants told the WSJ that Schwab always liked to hire attractive people, who were then usually also present in Davos. According to former WEF executives, the atmosphere there was "ripe for sexual harassment".


Several employees had complained to them about inappropriate behavior. There had even been a term for sexual contact between VIPs and Forum staff: "white on blue action", after the color of the badges worn by VIPs and staff.


"High values, thorough investigation process"


The dossier published on July 1 was apparently preceded by extensive correspondence between the WSJ and the World Economic Forum. The Forum had declined an interview with Klaus Schwab. Forum spokesman Yann Zopf stated that the article in the Wall Street Journal misrepresented "our organization, culture and colleagues, including our founder".


In a written statement to the WSJ, the forum had testified that it "holds itself and its employees to high values, with confidential reporting channels and a thorough investigative process." Schwab had never introduced an age limit for employees. On the contrary, it had worked with the HR manager to try to allow employees to work beyond the normal retirement age.


The company contradicted the WSJ's account, stating that it has zero tolerance for harassment or discrimination and has responded appropriately to all complaints received. Three cases of racial discrimination have been reported since 2020. These had each been thoroughly investigated and appropriate action had been taken.


According to the Journal, Schwab announced his intention to step down as Executive Chairman in a memo to employees on May 21. This announcement likely came after Schwab sent a letter to the publisher and editor-in-chief telling WSJ of his concerns about the upcoming publication.

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