Judith O’Toole. Photo: SkySight Photography.

Judith O’Toole to Serve as Acting Director of the Mattress Factory

The Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh, which has come under fire for its mishandling of sexual harassment allegations, announced today that Judith O’Toole, the former director of the Westmoreland Museum of American Art, will join the institution as acting director. The appointment follows the Mattress Factory’s decision to place executive director Michael Olijnyk on temporary paid leave after three former and one current employee filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

The controversy, which was first reported by Pittsburgh’s NPR station, 90.5 WESA, revolves around the institution’s alleged failure to act after several female employees accused a former male staffer of sexual misconduct. The institution also hired consultant Mary Navarro to work with O’Toole as a special advisor. The NLRB is currently reviewing how management at the museum interacted with the employees who made complaints and whether it sufficiently investigated the allegations.

“Judy and Mary have spectacular experience and reputations in the arts community far and wide,” Mattress Factory board chair Michael White said in a statement. “We are delighted they have agreed to work with us at this important time.” O’Toole and Navarro will begin their temporary assignments at the museum immediately.

Commenting on her new role, O’Toole said: “I have long considered the Mattress Factory to be a vital part of the Pittsburgh cultural scene and a unique, artist-oriented institution on the international stage. I believe in the ability of the arts to change people’s lives. I’ve witnessed the Mattress Factory do just that for more than forty years. It’s an exceptional asset, and I’m eager to help further the museum’s mission.”