LOS FELIZ—Longtime activist and volunteer boards member Chris Laib was asked by the Los Angeles Parks and Recreation Department to step down following a third-party sexual harassment complaint.
Chris Laib, a member of the parks and recreation advisory boards for both Griffith Park and the Greek Theater, is pushing back against the accusation. According to the letter Laib received, the incident occurred on November 21 at a volunteer breakfast meeting for the Greek Theater, the Los Feliz Ledger first reported. Laib allegedly “engaged in inappropriate behavior” toward Adriana Smith, a on-duty female staffer. After Smith jokingly cut in line in front of him, Laib reportedly tapped her on the rear end with a plastic plate. The two, who had known each other for 2 years, joked and hugged.
Smith never filed any complaints against Laib. A “third-party” complaint filed by Los Angeles Recreation and Parks Commissioner Pilar Diaz was sent to the department.
According to the letter, the department spoke to multiple witnesses and looked over a video feed and determined that Laib violated a code of conduct that requires park advisory board members to act “in a professional manner at all times” and treat staff and the public with respect.
Laib submitted his letter of resignation for the Greek Theater Advisory Board, but after learning that the LA Parks and Recreation General Manager Mike Shull also wanted him to leave the Griffith Park Advisory Board and the Friends Of The Griffith Observatory group, he withdrew his letter.
During an interview with the Los Feliz Ledger, Laib indicated it had become “a persecution” and that he was being “punished unduly.” He believed he was argeted because of his stances on certain issues, such as his disapproval of an Olympic motocross event that would have transpired in 2028.
Three leading members of the Griffith Park Advisory Board stepped down in support of Laib. Vice president Don Seligman called the investigation “a reckless and vindictive campaign by the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks.” Susan Swan, another member, said she was “alternately appalled and horrified,” while Kris Sullivan, the last to resign, called it “underhanded treatment.”
“I may have tapped her on the hip, not the rear end. We hugged again before we left,” Laib indicated in an interview with the Los Feliz Ledger. He asked “how could that be construed as sexual harassment?”
During the interview, Laib stated, “There are men dragging women into bathroom stalls and exposing themselves, which is reprehensible. So every time I go to the grocery store or the park or take a run and I see someone who I know only vaguely—I have a lot of visibility in the community—I don’t want to spend the rest of my life seeing people whisper, ‘That’s the guy,’ and assume I did something like Matt Lauer or Harvey Weinstein.”