U2 frontman Bono has apologised after claims emerged Sunday that workers at his ONE charity were subjected to a culture of abuse and bullying.
The Irish singer, 57, said he was “deeply sorry” and “furious” about the allegations, which appeared in The Mail on Sunday newspaper, and pledged to meet victims to apologise in person.
The British tabloid detailed a string of incidents, including claims from a married woman who said she was demoted after refusing to have sex with a Tanzanian member of parliament.
“We are all deeply sorry. I hate bullying, can’t stand it,” Bono said in a statement.
“The poorest people in the poorest places being bullied by their circumstance is the reason we set up ONE.
“So to discover last November that there were serious and multiple allegations of bullying in our office in Johannesburg left me and the ONE board reeling and furious.”
The board of directors includes former British prime minister David Cameron, Facebook chief Sheryl Sandberg and African telecoms magnate Mo Ibrahim.
Bono said things had gone “badly wrong” and he needed to “take some responsibility for that”. He added he would like to meet the complainants and “apologise in person”.
The Mail on Sunday also claimed that ONE failed to pay South African taxes and said it was alleged to have illegally employed foreign workers on tourist visas.
ONE describes itself as a campaigning and advocacy organisation taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa.
Bono co-founded the non-governmental organisation in 2004. Its headquarters are in Washington.
The NGO’s president Gayle Smith said she was “troubled” by the allegations.
She said an investigation found evidence of “unprofessional conduct” as well as “bullying and belittling of staff” between late 2011 and 2015.
Lawyers acting for seven former ONE staff last week launched a compensation case, seeking damages for “emotional, physical and psychological abuse”, The Mail on Sunday reported.