The founder of the latest group to try to cash in on the big money flowing from Wall Street to New York City’s charter schools has a disturbing history. Potential donors and charter parents who received Thomas Lopez-Pierre’s recent email seeking $250,000 in donations to support his new “Harlem Charter School Parents PAC” (of which he will serve as treasurer and spokesman) should take a moment to Google his name before signing on. When they do, they’ll discover that Lopez-Pierre is also the creator of the Harlem Club, which became infamous a few years back for its founder’s misogynistic and classist descriptions of that organization’s mission and for his own beliefs about women’s place in the home and society:
Thomas Lopez-Pierre was looking for just the right men for the Harlem Club, a private social club for African-Americans and Latinos that he was forming in Manhattan.
For $5,000, mid-career professional men could become charter members; $2,500 would make them general members. But this club did not want just any moneyed men. Rap stars, Hollywood glitterati and professional athletes — what Mr. Lopez-Pierre labels the ”ghetto-fabulous crowd” — would not be welcome.
Women could join the Harlem Club, too. But only as associate members. And they had to be 35 or younger, unmarried, childless, college educated and willing to submit a head-to-toe photograph, to prevent unattractive women from making the cut …
… So far 200 young women, among them doctors, lawyers, accountants, investment bankers and models, have applied for associate membership, Mr. Lopez-Pierre said. He has deleted the e-mail applications of overweight women.
… His comments about the club have been fodder for talk radio, newspapers and BET Nightly News. His views on women who oppose the club’s age restrictions, for example: ”A lot of these women are in their early 40′s, and their good-looking days are over,” he said. ”They’re career women.”…
”I didn’t marry my wife because she was a kind, sensitive woman,” he said. ”I married her because she is a complete package. I married her because she takes her butt to the gym, and she keeps it tight for me. I want it all, and I got it all. There are men who want the same.”
In another interview, he explained that:
The club is not about offering equality to the men and women who join.
“There is no equality between men and women,” said Mr. Lopez-Pierre. “Men are the providers and a man is only a man if he is a provider. Women are not expected to be providers. Men need to be providers and, at the end of the day, a man is expected to be the provider.”
Hopefully, the easy-to-follow (and disturbing) trail of Lopez-Pierre’s past statements and actions will lead to the disavowal of his new group by our city’s charter community before any parents or donors make the mistake of supporting his latest venture.