Friday, February 18, 2005
Gorilla Foundation rocked by bestiality breast display lawsuit
Two former employees of the Gorilla Foundation, home to Koko the "talking" ape, have filed a lawsuit contending that they were ordered to bond with the 33-year-old female simian by displaying their breasts.
Nancy Alperin and Kendra Keller, both of San Francisco, are taking on the Woodside nonprofit and its president, Francine "Penny" Patterson.
Their lawsuit, filed Tuesday in San Mateo County Superior Court, alleges sexual discrimination, wrongful termination in retaliation for reporting health and safety violations, and failure to pay overtime or provide rest breaks.
It seeks more than $1 million total in damages for the two women.
The suit follows complaints filed by Alperin and Keller in January with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, in which they gave identical reasons for why they were fired: "I refused to expose my breast to perform acts of bestiality with one of the gorillas."
The lawsuit goes into more detail.
One example: "On at least two incidents in mid-to-late June 2004, Patterson intensely pressured Keller to expose herself to Koko while they were working outside where other employees could potentially view Keller's naked body. ... On one such occasion, Patterson said, 'Koko, you see my nipples all the time. You are probably bored with my nipples. You need to see new nipples. I will turn my back so Kendra can show you her nipples.' "
Todd Roberts, a partner in the Redwood City office of Ropers Majeski Kohn Bentley, which is representing the Gorilla Foundation, said the law firm was still reviewing the suit.
"But I can tell you that based on our review of the factual allegations and characterizations in the complaint, we deny those allegations," Roberts said.
A call to Patterson and the Gorilla Foundation was not returned.
Posted by C. at 2:26 PM