Fairmont Hot Springs Resort CEO Vivek Sharma has been placed on leave and stepped down from several boards after he made a sexist comment at a tourism conference earlier this month.
According to reports, Sharma told the women attendees at the March 9th event to “go clean rooms and do dishes,” after making a statement about International Women’s Day, which was on March 8th.
Sharma faced quick backlash from the comments, as an apology was issued by the Tourism Industry Association of BC (TIABC) on the same day.
“What was originally intended as a salute and acknowledgement of the tremendous contribution, talent, skill and professionalism of our female tourism and hospitality colleagues, instead, resulted in a stark reminder of how far we have to go to achieve equality, respect, and empowerment for the women in our sector,” said the statement from the TIABC.
Please see below for an important message from Tourism Industry Association of BC (TIABC) CEO, Walt Judas; and British Columbia Hotel Association President & CEO, Ingrid Jarrett. pic.twitter.com/yaW10ZrMqc
— TIABC (@TIABC_CA) March 10, 2022
A written apology was also published by Sharma on March 15th.
“I am very sorry and deeply regret the insensitive and inappropriate comments I made at the start of last week’s BC Tourism & Hospitality Conference,” said Sharma.
“My unacceptable remarks did not set the intended tone for the conference and consequently placed TIABC and BCHA’s board and staff in a very difficult position.”
In the post, Sharma announced that he will be leaving several boards he served on.
“Since last Wednesday I have had multiple conversations with delegates, industry leaders and associates, as well as a time for sobering reflection on what transpired at the conference,” said Sharma’s statement. “As such, I have chosen to step down from the boards of both TIABC and BCHA (B.C. Hotel Association) effective immediately.”
More: Written apology from Vivek Sharma (B.C. Hotel Association)
On March 18th, Fairmont Hot Springs Resort also issued a statement of its own, saying that Sharma has been placed on “immediate leave.”
“The board of directors is taking this matter seriously and has hired a third-party consulting firm to conduct an independent review into the matter,” said resort officials. “Any discrimination is not acceptable and Fairmont Hot Springs Resort is dedicated to creating an inclusive and diverse atmosphere.”
— Fairmont Hot Springs Resort (@FHSresort) March 18, 2022
Files from Ryley McCormack, MyEastKootenayNow