In a post shared to Facebook on Friday, a woman named Spencer Genrich accused Detroit Dough collaborator Daniel A. Washington of sexual misconduct and harassment and called for a boycott of the company, which was set to launch a pop-up shop last weekend. “My sexual assaulter is opening up a cookie dough shop in Detroit,” Genrich writes. “This man is mentally and physically abusive, and has previously been accused of sexual harassment in the work place. He uses coercion and manipulation, and engages in multiple sexual acts without consent, including filming women having sexual intercourse.”
Responding to Genrich’s claims on Saturday, Detroit Dough’s partners Autumn Kyles and Victoria Washington originally announced that Daniel A. Washington would “step down effective immediately until this matter is resolved.”
However, Detroit Dough has since released a second statement in support of their partner, writing that they “remain confident that there is no truth to the allegation made against Daniel A. Washington and our attorneys are looking into any recourse we may have.”
The company continues: “To protect our new company and to remain sensitive to the issues, we are grateful to Daniel for being pro-active and for his willingness to distance himself while we looked into this. We are thankful that he will remain an active leader and voice in our company. While we are dedicated to empowering women, we are equally dedicated to finding truth and seeking justice.”
Neither the reports or statements clarify what — if any role — Daniel A. Washington currently has in the company.
The allegations come at a time when many sexual misconduct victims are feeling more empowered to come forward, sparked by the widespread accusations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein and other public figures.
This is the second time in less than a week that Detroit Dough has become embroiled in controversy. Following the initial announcement of the Northwest Detroit cookie dough cafe, another unregistered sugar cookie company calling itself Detroit Dough alleged that the raw cookie dough business had knowingly used an identical name. Detroit Dough’s founders denied those allegations, stating that they went through appropriate government channels to register the name.
Update, 4:56 p.m., 11/13: Detroit Dough’s attorney Zachary Hallman has released the following statement regarding the sexual misconduct allegations:
We are sensitive to any claim of sexual harassment or any allegation of criminal conduct. However, there is no merit to the claims made by the person that posted damaging allegations on Facebook. Instead, we believe she had only the intent to damage and harm the reputation of others. The facts are that two individuals were in a consensual sexual relationship in which they were physically intimate for approximately several months during the Fall of 2014. During that time, or at any other time before or after, never did anything occur between the parties that bears even a passing resemblance to harassment, assault, or non-consensual actions. Accordingly, we have notified Facebook to open an investigation and review the post as we prepare for immediate legal action against the person who made the claim.
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