Commentary

'Flaunt Magazine' CEO, EIC Sued For Sexual Harassment

Flaunt, the Los Angeles-based fashion and culture magazine that touts its “progressive and liberal attitude” in its employee handbook, was sued by a former employee who accused two top executives of sexual harassment.

Joseph Dalla Betta, a former employee who doesn’t identify as a “he” or “she,” but prefers “they,” on Thursday filed a complaint in L.A. Superior Court that described a litany of alleged workplace abuses.

Dalla Betta accused his former boss, CEO Luis Barajas Jr., and editor in chief Mathew Bedard of harassment, assault, sexual battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress, among other complaints.

“On countless occasions, Barajas said in front of Dalla Betta and their coworkers that Dalla Betta was a ‘closeted queer,’” the complaint reads. “Barajas and Bedard liked to joke about giving Dalla Betta ‘a raise for a raise’ — insinuating that Dalla Betta would get a raise if Dalla Betta gave Barajas an erection.”

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And that’s just the first page of allegations.

Dalla Betta’s complaint goes on to describe numerous humiliations, including being physically assaulted by Bedard at a workplace party in Hollywood on October 11.

“Bedard appeared to be very intoxicated and possibly under the influence of cocaine or another drug,” according to the complaint. “Bedard approached Dalla Betta and kissed Dalla Betta on the lips. Then Bedard slapped Dalla Betta with an open hand three times on the face.”

Two months earlier, Dalla Betta traveled with Barajas on a business trip that culminated in a night of drinking and gambling together. Dalla Betta alleges that Barajas insisted they sleep in his bed, and tried to kiss them. Eventually, Dalla Betta pretended to fall asleep. Then, according to Dalla Betta, Barajas began to masturbate Dalla Betta, before masturbating himself.

Dalla Betta quit the company in December after speaking with two colleagues about similar experiences at the company.

“At that point, I just — I cracked,” Dalla Betta said in an interview with Vice News, which first reported the story.

Barajas and Bedard declined to comment on the suit to Vice News. Dalla Betta is seeking unspecified damages.

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