An award-winning Nigerian painter is suing the Pratt Institute after he was expelled from the school’s MFA program following allegations he sexually harassed his fellow students.
In the lawsuit, the artist, Onyeka Ibe, 42, denies a laundry list of accusations ranging from creepy to despicable: that he repeatedly asked students to model nude for him; that he cornered a woman in the restroom, asked for a hug, and made lewd comments about her body; and that he (shudder) asked a woman to film him masturbating onto her naked body.
Court papers state that Ibe was expelled in November, whereupon an administrator at Pratt notified him, in writing, that any attempt to speak to the students he thought reported him could result in legal action. According to the school’s sexual harassment policy, Pratt “expressly prohibits any form of retaliatory action against anyone availing him/herself of this procedure”–namely, filing harassment claims.
Ibe had begun the program in 2012, and has exhibited his work worldwide. He filed suit with the intent of being readmitted to the school so as to complete his MFA.