Hundreds of Planned Parenthood staff members and advocates are calling on the director of its Pennsylvania chapter to resign over claims of racism, transphobia and mismanagement.
The Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates (PPPA) this week released a scathing open letter demanding Executive Director Emily Callen, 30, step down.
Callen, who is white, has been the head of the women’s healthcare organization’s Pennsylvania division in Philadelphia since March.
According to the letter written by her entire staff, Callen during her nine-month tenure had been ‘fiscally irresponsible’, used racist, transphobic and classist language as well as language ‘which perpetuates stigma against abortion.’
The Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates (PPPA) this week released a scathing open letter demanding Executive Director Emily Callen (pictured) 30, step down
Callen, who is white, has been the head of the women’s healthcare organization’s Pennsylvania division in Philadelphia since March
‘Many of us came into this organization knowing its white supremacist history, believing that we could put in the work and make PPPA the effective, feminist, anti-racist organization that we know it has the potential to be,’ the letter states.
‘However, because of the actions of certain members of our senior leadership team, specifically our Executive Director Emily Callen, we have been unable to achieve that mission and we believe we must warn potential applicants about the harm she has done to our staff.’
Among their claims is that Callen used disparaging terms such as ‘illegals’ to refer to undocumented immigrants and ‘tokenized’ BIPOC (black, indigenous, people of color) employees by referring to their race ‘in situations where it had no bearing.’
The letter was written by Callen’s entire staff and has been signed by over 900 members of other advocacy groups
The writers further highlighted her alleged behavior in a series of bullet points which included her contrasting responses to the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg and George Floyd.
‘Emily Callen had a rapid response to the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, which included an email to the entire team and fundraising appeals, neither of which she did for George Floyd or any of the dozens of Black and Brown victims of police violence or ICE,’ the letter claims.
‘While giving lip service to racial justice issues, Emily Callen has repeated racist stereotypes and disregarded the racist, white supremacist history of Planned Parenthood’s founding as unimportant.’
The letter further points to management issues within the organization, including claims that Callen, who is reportedly on a $110,000 salary, refused to take temporary pay cut during the pandemic, and did not respect employees vacation time.
The allegations come amid a ‘restructuring’ within the organization due to budget constraints that would involve laying off several positions including a young black female organizer, the letter states.
The move would also reportedly make the temporary role of communications director, which staff say attracted a ‘more affluent and white applicant base’, permanent.
‘Preserving this position over the jobs of people who have put in real work on the ground in our communities is offensive and is a stark example of white supremacy in the workplace by way of devaluing the work our organizing team has done,’ the writers claim.
DailyMail.com has contacted Callen for comment.
Dayle Steinberg, the board chair for PPPA, released a statement on Monday vowing to conduct a ‘deep examination’ into the claims.
‘PPPA is not immune to the systemic racism that permeates our society. We are committed to racial equity and an inclusive environment for all who work on behalf of our mission and take the PPPA staff’s charges of racism and inequity seriously. PPPA reaffirms its commitment to end implicit bias and structural racism within our organization at all levels,’ he said.
‘As part of PPPA’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion work, the board of directors will work closely with the senior leadership team to immediately launch a deep examination of the issues raised in the November 25 open letter.’
As of Tuesday night, over 900 members of affiliated non-profit organizations and community leaders have signed the letter in support.