Rev Jen Speaks Out About Tenement Museum Firings

Posted on: May 24th, 2013 at 5:32 am by

tenement-museum-ad-1

Earlier this week, we exclusively revealed the purported behind-the-scenes turmoil at the Tenement Museum. Within the last few months, the neighborhood institution axed much of its staff. We’re told that several employees were either “forced to resign, fired or bullied until they had no option except quitting.” Rev Jen, known around these parts for her unique Troll Museum, was one of the unfortunate. She posted a statement on her personal website, and we’ve reproduced it here:

On Tuesday I was fired from the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. I had worked there since 2001, was there on the morning of 9-11 and was an incredibly dedicated employee. During my employment there, I worked part-time (approximately 30 hours a week) and never received health insurance or even a sick day. Funny because the museum espouses “labor reform.” Still, I came to work, hardly complained and watched the visitors’ center grow into a million-dollar a year “business” (despite it officially being a non-profit). I read a huge amount of the literature in the store and was therefore great at selling books. This year, specifically, my schedule was switched to Friday-Monday, which meant I never had a weekend. I worked Black Friday, Christmas Eve and New Years Eve, which meant I also didn’t get to see my family. And on the days off I did have, I was too broke to travel to see them.

I wasn’t sure things there could get more Dickensian until this past week, when on a quick work break, I walked to get coffee and tripped on a crack in the Delancey Street sidewalk, smashing my face in. It was literally a bloody mess. (Though thank you Omega 7, it is healing.) And more thankfully, a woman passing by who knew a nearby EMT took me to him. I am still in pain. My lip is still split and my neck suffered minor whiplash, given I swiveled my head around as I fell to avoid breaking all my teeth. Of course I couldn’t go to a doctor (no insurance!) and probably needed stitches but instead suffered the indignity of high school kids calling me “two-face.” (As someone pointed out, at least they read Batman!)

Since I was drenched in blood, I was obviously sent home from work that day. That Friday I was still in pain, but took 4 Advil and tried to come in. The manager, Jes, asked me to work in the basement, even though I was always best on the sales floor, at my register. The girl who took my place was almost half my age. Guess you have to be without facial scars and young to sell books. The next day I came in and was sent home because Jes told me I needed a “mental health day” even though my problem was obviously physical. Then, having finally gotten Sundays off (something they agreed to 2 weeks ago), a manager named Rachel called me on a Sunday and left me a message telling me I needed to take another “mental health day” on Monday. I called her and told her I didn’t need one. She said, “Don’t call me on a Sunday!” I said you just called me on a Sunday.” I felt like Alice in Wonderland trying to play croquet with a flamingo. Nothing made sense.

Then Rachel told me I had a meeting on Tuesday with Mary Kate, yet another manager. I sat down in the conference room on Tuesday with Mary Kate and Barry Roseman (who is the director of operations) and they told me I was “terminated.” I asked Barry why. He said, “I’m not giving you a reason.” I persisted and he told me I needed to leave the conference room because he had an important meeting. I refused. He finally screamed at me, “insubordination!” and stormed out.

And that’s how it went down. It shouldn’t have come as a surprise since the managers (Mary Kate, Jes and Rachel) have fired many other people in the past 2 months – all hard workers with great personality. I guess personality equals being fired there.

Please boycott the Tenement Museum. As I said before, they espouse labor reform while not practicing it. Al Smith is rolling in his grave right now.

Recent Stories

thor-vandal
Atop the Hotel on Rivington, Street Art Takes Hold

It’s not just nightlife tune-ups, the Hotel on Rivington is seemingly trying to reinvent itself. Last month, we noted the nightlife reboot on premise. The Shanghai-themed lounge, Jia (formerly Viktor & Spoils), and an as-yet-unnamed Mediterranean restaurant in the adjacent space. Both are by the collective hand of Roberto Buchelli (Beautique, Provocateur) and Corey Lane (partner […]

icp-bowery-open
International Center of Photography Brings ‘Maman’ Cafe Outpost to the Bowery

The International Center of Photography officially opened its flagship Bowery location to the public yesterday. Its coronation was years in the making, and caps an extended period of dormancy for this storefront real estate at 250 Bowery. With its arrival in the neighborhood, though, is a tag-along eats occupant. Indeed, lost in all the headlines […]

2spring-sign-stand
Mic Drop: State Denies ‘The Stand’ Comedy Club a Chance on the Bowery

After four years on Third Avenue, The Stand was planning on relocating the comedy club to a basement on the Bowery. Apparently some impending development is pushing them out. However, the state denied owner Paul Italia and company a liquor license this week for the subterranean space below 2 Spring Street. Opposition to the establishment was entrenched from […]

bowery-boys
Ambitious ‘Windows on the Bowery’ Placard Project to Highlight History of Thoroughfare, Launches July 5

These days, the Bowery rarely gets due recognition for its pioneering architecture, and early contributions to myriad art forms, such as tattooing, punk, vaudeville, and Yiddish Theater. Instead, it’s really all about which historic buildings can be sold to the highest bidder for demolition and re-development. Armed with a platoon of historians and visually-striking imagery, […]

showdown-2016-1_wm
Scenes from Steve Nash’s 9th Annual Showdown NYC on the LES [PHOTOS]

Last night, the Lower East Side again played host to the annual Showdown NYC. It was the ninth outing for retired ball player Steve Nash, who rallied his athlete friends for another inner-city friendly. As in years prior, a delegation of NBA, MLS, and international soccer stars, as well as notable personalities, gathered at Nike […]