Former Christianity Today editor-in-chief Mark Galli has been accused of multiple instances of sexual harassment during his time at the prominent evangelical magazine. Near the end of his lengthy tenure, Galli attracted widespread attention for denouncing the moral character of then-President Donald Trump.
Christianity Today itself published the report, in a piece written by Daniel Silliman and edited by Kate Shellnutt. Their journalistic investigation found that Christianity Today leadership was made aware of multiple instances of sexual harassment from Galli and former CT advertising director Olatokunbo Olawoye over the course of a decade, but turned a blind eye.
Galli admitted to Religion News Service that he may have “crossed lines” during his time at CT but says he never had “any romantic or sexual interest in anyone at Christianity Today.”
Current and former staffers described inappropriate behavior, demeaning comments and uncomfortable, offensive conversations with both Galli and Olawoye. “Women at CT were touched at work in ways that made them uncomfortable,” CT wrote. “They heard men with authority over their careers make comments about the sexual desirability of their bodies. And in at least two cases, they heard department heads hint at openness to an affair.”
The report found eight women who said Galli touched them inappropriately, including one woman who said Galli was giving her a back rub when his hand got “stuck under her bra.” In 2019, three women reported Galli to HR, saying he’d given hugs from behind, grabbed shoulders and touched one woman’s butt.
Galli was written up for those incidents, but CT’s report found that while he had been reported to HR several times in the years prior, no report had ever been written about him. They found no record of any corrective action, even after multiple complaints alleging similar behavior over the years.
A whisper network formed around Olawoye, who was repeatedly accused of engaging women in long, personal conversations — sometimes after he’d let himself into their office and shut the door. Women say he would comment on their bodies, tell them that his wife was growing less attractive and remark on the lack of sex in his marriage. One woman says she told HR that Olawoye was staring at her breasts during a meeting, and was told that she should “wear a scarf.”
Olawoye was later arrested by federal agents after traveling to meet a minor for sex.
Many people interviewed for the piece viewed HR as either unable or unwilling to take action. Former HR director Richard Shields was seen as tight with Galli, Olawoye and other members of CT leadership and, according to several women, “seemed more likely to sympathize with men in leadership than young women making accusations.”
In an editorial, current CT president Timothy Dalrymple wrote that “we fell short in protecting our employees.”
Dalrymple was aware of a 2019 incident involving Galli — the first time he was ever written up. But after being made aware that there was a longer, undocumented history of complaints, Dalrymple contacted sexual abuse victim advocate Rachael Denhollander and Guideposts Solutions — a popular consultant for evangelical institutions looking to examine their response to sexual misconduct — and commissioned a review. That report which has been made public, found that “[w]hile many believe that this aspect of CT’s culture has improved under its current leadership, others believe that women are still discounted and treated as ‘less than’ in the CT workplace.”
Dalrymple says CT plans on implementing Guidepost’s suggested institutional changes to address the lack of action on the part of HR. “We owe it to the women involved to say we believe their stories and we are deeply sorry the ministry failed to create an environment in which they were treated with respect and dignity,” he wrote.