City Paper is not for tourists.
Greenpeace has no qualms about going after companies with posters that display slogans like: “Dow brand dioxin: Dow makes you poison great things.” But when ex-Greenpeace employees use grass-roots tactics against their former managers, well, that’s a different matter. Recently, dozens of flyers have been posted around the District demanding that “John Sell Out” or John Sellers, office director of D.C. Greenpeace, stop “sexually harassing and sleeping with women who work for him.” Would-be vigilantes are encouraged to call Sellers at the office to complain. While the flyers are unsigned, former Greenpeace staffers Ashby Peyton and her boyfriend Mark Sporzynski took responsibility when called by Washington City Paper. In June, Sporzynski was fired. Two days later, he filed an internal grievance for wrongful termination and Peyton filed a grievance against Sellers for sexual harassment. Greenpeace investigated and dismissed both complaints. Peyton quit. Instead of pursuing their cases with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the District’s Department of Human Rights, Peyton and Sporzynski chose to take their quarrel with Greenpeace to the streets. Peyton hopes the flyers will prompt other women who worked with Sellers to come forward. “He [Sellers] made me feel like it was my fault,” she says. Sellers denies he ever harassed Peyton or any other Greenpeace employee. He says the posters are part of the couple’s pattern of retaliation, describing them as “a grass roots slur.” “What can I do? I’m not going to lose sleep over this. I don’t do the things on the poster,” says Sellers. “I’m not some frat boy directing this office.” Sellers’ colleagues at Greenpeace said they voluntarily canvassed the neighborhood to take down the flyers.