The separation between Penguin Canada and former president David Davidar is getting nasty. After Penguin issued a statement Friday announcing that former rights and contract director Lisa Rundle had filed a number of different charges against Davidar and the company--including sexual harassment charges against Davidar--Davidar issued his own statement, saying that he was “disappointed” that Penguin had made a public statement about the litigation. According to Davidar, while he agreed to state that his departure from Penguin was voluntary, “the truth is that a former colleague accused me of sexual harassment and Penguin terminated my employment.”
The statement continued: “I had a friendship with my colleague which lasted for three years. I am utterly shocked by the allegations. I am dismayed that Penguin Canada chose to respond to them by directing me to leave Penguin. I intend to defend the allegations vigorously in the courts, and I am certain that the truth will prevail.
“As I said earlier this week, I intend to pursue my writing career. I do not intend to make further comment on the pending legal proceedings.”
Davidar's statement came hours after Penguin Canada issued a statement that Penguin’s former Rundle charged Davidar with sexual harassment in an action Thursday. The statement added that Davidar was asked to leave the company last month, and while it had been unclear just when Davidar’s resignation, announced Tuesday, would become effective, Penguin said he will have no further involvement with the company.
Penguin said it expects to soon name a new head of the company who will report to Penguin USA CEO David Shanks, who was given overall responsibility for Penguin Canada when Davidar’s resignation was first announced.
In addition to the sexual harassment charges, Rundle filed several other claims against Penguin, including wrongful termination. Penguin denied the wrongful termination charge, saying Rundel left “after having declined to pursue career opportunities within the organization.”