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National Association of Realtors Head Steps Down After Sex Harassment Allegations

The New York Times published a story in late August about multiple women who claimed National Association of Realtors’ president Kenny Parcell sexually harassed them. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) is a 1.5 million-member trade association and a significant part of the real estate industry. Parcell was in the middle of a one-year term as president of the NAR but stepped down following The New York Times report.

One woman claimed Parcell put his hands down his pants in front of her; another woman said he texted her a picture of his crotch; and another woman said he retaliated against her after she ended a relationship with him. A former NAR director alleges Parcell regularly expected hugs and tried to arrange meetings with younger female colleagues late in the evening. She says that sexual harassment is woven into the NAR culture. A female Texas realtor witnessed Parcell excluding female realtors who did not flatter him. Unusually, NAR's sexual harassment guidance placed responsibility for avoiding harassment on the potential victims. It required victims to avoid going to anyone's hotel room and directed individuals to speak up if someone referred to them as "sweetheart" or "honey." Women who complained about treatment felt that NAR leaders discouraged them from speaking up. Nineteen women told The New York Times that they endured harassment, and another ten said they were subjected to a "sexist, belittling culture." Many of these allegations included Parcell.

Parcell denied engaging in harassing conduct, asserting the allegations are "categorically false" and that he is "deeply troubled" by people who are trying to "tarnish" his character or "mischaracterize [his] well-intended actions."