Current and former employees are speaking out about what they were told to do at work. The Canadian Museum for Human Rights got exposed for censoring LGBTQ+ content during tours. Though apparently it no longer happens.
At the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, staff say they were asked to not show content that was LGBTQ+ related on tours at the requests of guests.
Those speaking out told the CBC that one time someone who is part of the LGBTQ+ community was asked to actually physically block a same-sex marriage display.
Gabriela Agüero, former program developer and tour guide at the museum, said that complaints about censoring the content were brushed off.
That's because they had to honour the requests of groups since they paid for tours.
"It was horrendous because then I had to go sit with my gay friends on staff and tell them I did that. It was a horrific sense of guilt and very painful," Agüero said.
A current employee said that excluding things from tours at the request of groups doesn't happen anymore.
That happened following backlash from staff after that a member of the LGBTQ+ community had to block the display with photos of same-sex couples in the shape of a cake.
The museum confirmed the censoring in a statement to Narcity saying "When the Museum first began offering on-site school programs in January 2015, some schools were allowed to request particular content be excluded from their field trips – including that about people with diverse sexual orientations and gender identities. This was wrong and should never have happened. In 2017, in response to concerns identified and raised by employees, staff who book school programs were instructed to no longer accept such requests for adaptations to our education programs."*
As the stories from the museum's employees started making the rounds, people voiced their opinions in a Reddit thread.
"Those certain guests sound like the exact type you shouldn’t censor for and instead show them directly," one person said.
Someone else said that this is "censorship in a place [where] nothing should be censored."
Employees noted that the censoring was done with groups of all ages including students, diplomats and even donors.
The same-sex display is in an alcove in one of the museum's permanent exhibits.
A current employee said that even though requests for LGBTQ+ content to be excluded aren't accepted anymore, school staff members block the display themselves on tours for students.
Just a week before this came out, former employees shared their stories of racism and discrimination they faced at the museum.
Even as the museum opened in 2014, there were protests about it.
The museum told Narcity they have launched a comprehensive process to address the concerns their current and former employees have regarding systemic discrimination, racism and homophobia.*
*This story has been updated.