- The Wing, a women-only coworking space and club that has raised $US32 million from investors like WeWork, has three locations in New York City, and one in Washington D.C.
- On Monday, Jezebel reported that The Wing is under investigation by the New York City Commission on Human Rights for possible violation of the city’s strict anti-discrimination laws.
- An outpouring of support on Twitter from members of The Wing has gained the attention of the Commission, and on Wednesday, mayor Bill de Blasio stated his office supports The Wing.
The Wing, a women-only coworking space and social club that has three locations in New York City and one in Washington D.C., is under investigation by the New York City Commission on Human Rights due to its strict no-men-allowed club rules – possibly violating the city’s Human Rights Law, Jezebel reported.
On Wednesday, Gelman and Dunn told Business Insider that they heard about the Commission’s investigation from the Jezebel journalist before hearing from the Commission themselves – leaving Gelman confused about what motivated the leak.
The Commission, which received a tip from a member of the public, has confirmed the investigation to The Daily News. However, the Wing’s co-founder, Audrey Gelman, and Karen Dunn of Boies Schiller Flexner LLP, who is representing the The Wing, have referred to the investigation as a “conversation.”
“Quite surprisingly, the Commission reached out to us on the first day of Women’s History Month. That call has resulted in nothing more than an agreement to meet and have a conversation – in fact, we have been assured that the de Blasio Administration fully supports the mission of The Wing and will work with us to see it prosper. Because of the history of women in this country – and even more so in this time we live in – it is important to protect and foster the work of The Wing and similar space that give women a positive and safe space to thrive,” said Gelman in a statement.
After Jezebel broke the news of the investigation, Gelman notified members of The Wing in an email statement – requesting that they Tweet at both the Commission and mayor Bill de Blasio. Members immediately took to Twitter, vocalizing their opinions about the investigation and The Wing.
Hello @NYCCHR I hope that you are also using our tax dollars and your resources to investigate workplaces that are actually hostile to women. Would love to read long investigative pieces about that.
— Aminatou Sow (@aminatou) March 27, 2018
This is honestly the craziest story I've read today. Are you kidding me, @NYCMayorsOffice?! Not even a member, but still, #IStandWithTheWing (and safe spaces for women everywhere). https://t.co/SzkZwG0xf7
— Anna Hyclak (@annahyclak) March 27, 2018
the @nycchr is investigating @the_wing on the basis of gender discrimination. the wing is a work and community space for women in new york, washington, and soon la. the wing is a safe and necessary space and i'm proud to call it my home away from home #istandwiththewing https://t.co/CfmkRwZ5Vr
— hari nef (@harinef) March 27, 2018
On Tuesday, the Commission was engaging in the conversation, replying to those Tweeting at The Wing and its members:
In NYC, no one should be discriminated against or harassed because of their gender. @NYCCHR uses every resource at our disposal to hold violators accountable and get justice for victims. Last yr, we increased fines & damages collected by more than $1 mil, collecting $2.7 million
— NYC Human Rights (@NYCCHR) March 27, 2018
On Wednesday, de Blasio’s spokesman Eric Phillips told the Daily News: “The mayor is fully supportive of The Wing’s mission, and we are confident the human rights commission and The Wing can work together to ensure the law is being followed so that The Wing can continue to focus on its important work.”
New York City’s Scott M. Stringer, who Gelman has worked for in the past, also Tweeted his support:
.@the_wing is one of the leading organizations for empowering and promoting the voices of women today — and should do so long into the future.
— Scott Stringer (@scottmstringer) March 27, 2018
Dunn has said in a statement: “We are looking forward to a productive talk with [the Commission]. After all, last I checked, human rights included empowering women not taking more away from them. The law recognises this too and is consistent with The Wing’s values and mission.”
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