Entertainment Celebrity Bono takes ‘some responsibility’ for worker abuse at his charity

Bono takes ‘some responsibility’ for worker abuse at his charity

Bono has expressed his disgust at the "serious and multiple allegations" involving his charity. Photo: Getty
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U2 frontman Bono has apologised after claims were made that workers at a charity he co-founded were subjected to a culture of bullying and abuse.

The Irish singer, 57, said he was furious after the allegations surfaced last November.

He admitted the ONE organisation failed to protect some employees at its Johannesburg office.

The Mail on Sunday detailed a string of incidents, including allegations from a woman who says she was demoted after refusing to have sex with a Tanzanian MP.

“We are all deeply sorry. I hate bullying, can’t stand it,” Bono told the paper.

“The poorest people in the poorest places being bullied by their circumstance is the reason we set up ONE.

“So to discover last November that there were serious and multiple allegations of bullying in our office in Johannesburg left me and the ONE board reeling and furious.”

Some former employees have launched legal action against the charity, which aims to tackle poverty and disease, particularly in Africa.

Gayle Smith, ONE’s chief executive officer since March last year, said an investigation found evidence of “unprofessional conduct” as well as “bullying and belittling of staff” between late 2011 and 2015.

“Staff were called names, and some said their manager put them to work on domestic tasks in her home,” she said in a statement.

“The investigation also found the situation was not adequately addressed nor resolved by executive management at the time, and that ONE’s board was not, in my view, properly or fully informed.”

Bono said that although the allegations focus on one individual, “the head office failed to protect those employees and I need to take some responsibility for that”.

“In fact, if they would agree, I would like to meet them and apologise in person.”