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MoMA was accused of enabling sexual assault.

Arts and EntertainmentMoMA was accused of enabling sexual assault.

The following story contains mention of sexual assault and harassment. A nude artist who performed at the MoMA in 2010 is suing the museum, claiming that they didn't do enough to protect him from sexual assaults. John Bonafede claims that he was groped multiple times by patrons and that MoMA failed to take corrective action to protect him.

MoMA, Marina Abramovi, and Bonafede's attorney have been contacted by Hyperallergic. Bonafede and a female performer had to stand nude and motionless with locked gazes at the threshold of a narrow passageway that museum visitors were encouraged to pass through. Bonafede alleges that he was groped by seven museum visitors, all older males, and that he witnessed his female counterpart being attacked as well. Bonafede and several other performance artists were invited to attend a retreat at the upstate New York residence of Marina Abramovi prior to the exhibition opening. Bonafede stated during the retreat that MoMA staff and Abramovi herself instilled a "tough it out" culture when communicating the potential for attendee transgressions against performers. Bonafede said he didn't report the first incident of sexual misconduct he experienced at the beginning of the exhibition because he wanted to keep his head down after one performer had their contract terminated for being unable to remain motionless. The MoMA security guard who witnessed the assault against Bonafede in real time reported four other incidents. The museum acknowledged that it was aware of the challenges posed by having nude performers in the galleries, and developed a system for performers to rely on if they felt unsafe. Bonafede claims that the museum visitors who were ejected from the premises and one who had his membership revoked didn't provide him with their identities. The New York Adult Survivors Act removed the statute of limitations for sexual assault litigations for a year from November 2022 to November 2023.

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