| Tuesday, February 22, 2005
| LAWSUIT FILED OVER KOKO'S ODD REQUESTS
Two fired caretakers for Koko, the world famous
sign language speaking Gorilla, have sued their
former bosses, claiming thery were pressured to
expose their breasts as a way of bonding with the
300 pound simian gorilla.
Nancy Alperin and Kendra Keller, both of San Francisco,
claim they were subjected to sexual discrimination and
then wrongfully terminated after reporting health and
safety violations at Koko's home in Woodside, an upscale
town in the south San Francisco Bay area.
The lawsuit against the Gorilla Foundation and its president,
Francine "Penny" Patterson, the longtime trainer of the well
know gorilla, was filed this week in San Mateo Country Superior
Court. It seeks damages totalling more than $1 million.
Foundation attorney Todd Roberts said the case mischaracterizes
the foundation and turns "purported employment issue" into
publicity "hurtful" for a reputable organization.
"We unequivocally deny these allegations and are confident
that this case lucks merit", Roberts said.
Alperian and Keller were hired last year and were among 16
employees of the foundation, which was founded in 1976 to
promote the preservation and study of gorillas. It is best
known for Koko, who has mastered a vocabulary of more than
1,000 signs; the foundation says she has advanced further in
language than any other non human.
The suit claims Patterson pressured the two women on several
occasions to expose their breasts to Koko, a 33 year old female
-- sometimes in situations where other employees could
potentially view their bodies. The women never undressed,
said their attorney, Stephen Sommers of San Francisco.
They were threatened that if they did not indulge Koko's
desire to see their nipples, their employment would suffer,
the lawsuit alleged.
In addition to the alleged harassmanet, the two former workers
claimed the Woodside facility had unsanitary and unsafe conditions,
including rodents in the food preparation area and gorilla urine
stored in the refrigerator where workers kept their lunches.
They complained to the California Division of Occupational
Safety and Health and were fired on Aug 6, the day after
the inspectors visited the site and found code violations,
according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit also calims the nonprofit failed to pay for
overtime and provide rest breaks.
(abstracted from DAILYHERALD/
Associated Press report)
|posted by infraternam meam @ 3:52 AM
Did anyone see the Robin Williams HBO special. In it he has a bit about meeting KOKO and having to show him his bare chest. He also states that the gorrilla grabbed his nipple. I think they could use this in their case because it is obvious the gorrilla has been trained to have a nipple fetish.