After 40 years with Planned Parenthood, Chris Charbonneau has been removed as CEO of the organization's Seattle-based affiliate.
In the fall of 2021, a Planned Parenthood donor said during a dinner meeting with the CEO of the organization's Seattle-based affiliate that they were worried about the state of reproductive rights in America. As the Seattle Times reports, the donor, citing the recently tightened restrictions on abortion in Texas, suggested that, "They’re trying to make women the new [N-word]."
A couple of days after the meeting, Erika Croxton, the boss of the "gift officer" who had accompanied Charbonneau, called the CEO and asked for details. It was then that Charbonneau repeated what the donor had said, except she did not censor the N-word, opting rather to utter it in full, as the donor had done.
Word soon got out that the CEO had used the word, and a flurry of resignations ensued, with Croxton herself going first.
Many of those who quit cited not only Charbonneau's use of the N-word, but, as the Seattle Times reports, "lack of people of color at the top level of leadership, perceived microaggressions throughout the organization, and a feeling among some that not enough has been done around racial equity."
Charbonneau was ousted after a number of board members argued the staff had lost confidence in her, despite an external investigation finding that she had not intended to harm anyone with her retelling of the donor's comments.
The 61-year-old has been working with Planned Parenthood since her college days, and has been described as "legendary" within the reproductive rights community.