The head of the educational arm of the Human Rights Campaign has resigned after a colleague reported her for using the “n-word” to describe moments she became offended after hearing the term.
Mary Beth Maxwell used the word in two instances at work according to an internal document by HRC president Chad Griffin, obtained by Politico.
“In the first instance, the senior staff member recounted an upsetting personal story in which the term was used,” Griffin explained. “In a second instance, the senior staff member repeated the word in describing an external situation that they found horrifying, in which racial and homophobic slurs were used.”
Griffin had initially suspended the chief without pay, but Maxwell offered her resignation instead, citing her “deep regret.”
“While in each instance I was conveying something that really happened — in the first I was emotional and scared that it had been said and in the second feeling urgency about addressing a deeply racist and homophobic encounter that a colleague recounted — I realize I should never have said that word out loud,” Maxwell wrote.
Griffin expressed that when it comes to racial epithets like this, “the lesson learned here” is “intent does not matter. It is the impact of that word that matters. It simply is never acceptable for that word to be said by an employee in the workplace, period.”
Maxwell has worked with the HRC since 2015 and, prior to that, served on the Obama administration in the U.S. Department of Labor.