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The Trevor Project Ousts CEO Amit Paley Amid Concerns From Staff

Amit Paley

The organization announced Paley's departure in an email late last week.

The LGBTQ+ youth suicide prevention organization the Trevor Project announced in an email sent out Friday that it has removed Amit Paley as the organization's CEO and executive director.

The organization has been attacked in recent months by far-right politicians and influencers over its work with queer youth.

In the email, the Trevor Project said that the decision came after staff members voiced doubts over the group's leadership and its recent expansion.

"Over the past week, several staff members across our organization, particularly our BIPOC, transgender or nonbinary and disabled staff members, as well as members of our Crisis Services and training teams, have raised serious concerns about leadership and our rate of growth," the email stated.

The announcement stressed that the Trevor Project will continue to provide 24/7 crisis services and programs to support queer youth.

The organization said in a separate statement that Peggy Rajski, the founder of the Trevor Project and longtime board member, will serve as interim CEO until a permanent CEO is found.

"Relentless attacks against LGBTQ youth and their families also continue to raise the temperature for our crisis services, advocacy, research, and education work," it read. "This intense climate has led to significant stress on our organization, and many members of our staff have raised concerns about workplace well-being, professional development, prioritization performance metrics, and resourcing compensation -- particularly as they impact our BIPOC, transgender, nonbinary, and disabled team members. While a comprehensive, independent review of The Trevor Project is being conducted, the Board of Directors elected to make a change in leadership."

In a statement provided to The Advocate through a spokesperson, Paley said, "It has been the honor of a lifetime to lead The Trevor Project's life-saving team for over five years. As the world's largest suicide prevention and mental health organization for LGBTQ young people, The Trevor Project is a beacon of hope for millions around the globe."

He said the organization had increased from 50 employees to 500 during his tenure. He also pointed to the recent launch of Trevor Project services in Mexico last month as part of global expansion under his leadership.

"The Trevor Project's vital work is needed now more than ever and I will always remain deeply committed to the organization's vision of a world where all LGBTQ young people see a bright future for themselves," Paley said.

The news comes several months after Paley was criticized for some of his consulting work while with McKinsey & Co. In that capacity, Paley worked on projects for Purdue Pharma, the company behind the highly addictive painkiller OxyContin, according to media reports. Accounts varied on how involved his work was with Purdue.

In the U.S., if you are having thoughts of suicide or are concerned that someone you know may be, resources are available to help. The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 is for people of all ages and identities. Trans Lifeline, designed for transgender or gender-nonconforming people, can be reached at (877) 565-8860. The lifeline also provides resources to help with other crises, such as domestic violence situations. The Trevor Project Lifeline, for LGBTQ+ youth (ages 24 and younger), can be reached at (866) 488-7386. Users can also access chat services at TheTrevorProject.org/Help or text START to 678678.

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