These women came to Antarctica to do science. Then Monsters Appeared


On April 12, In 2019, Boston University finally fired David Marchant for harassing Willenbring. (The university said it could not substantiate her claims of physical and emotional abuse.) Marchant released a statement, which the magazine said. Science he swore he had “never slept” with anyone, “not in 1998 or 1999 in Antarctica or at any other time.” But thanks to Willenbring, word got out.

As a result of this scandal, the National Science Foundation commissioned an external investigation into sexual exploitation and abuse at an Antarctic research facility. The lengthy report, which was released in August 2022, contained shocking allegations of beatings, stalking, and torture. Britt Barquist, who was an oil executive, was on contract at McMurdo with a company that is now called Amentum. He supervised a team of about 20 people who did the dangerous work of lifting and cleaning diesel and petrol tanks. One day in late November 2017, he tells me, he was sitting at a table with a man who held a senior position at Leidos, the company that manages the Antarctic research station. He was running briefly to the staff when he caught him in plain sight.

When he talked to his supervisor, he said he had seen some of the incidents. His employer reported it to the human resources department at Amentum. “I told HR that I no longer want to be with him anywhere. I’m in awe of this guy,” says Barquist, “And they said, ‘Okay.'”

But in 2020, while working with McMurdo’s contractor, he was told to attend weekly meetings with the same officer. Barquist, who needed the job, underestimated himself. He said: “It was disgusting and disgusting to look at his face and listen to him talk,” he says. . Why is everyone acting like a normal person?’”

The following year, at the end of nearly three weeks of Covid-19 isolation with the New Zealand staff, he watched a show about a trip to Antarctica and saw the official’s name. When she called her HR department to handle the complaint, she said she met with two officials, one of whom was identified as a victim advocate.

She told me: “I said I still don’t want to be with this guy, but they said, ‘So how do you think we’re going to deal with this?'” Barquist gets emotional when he remembers the conversation he had with the two women. from his employer. He said: “I thought he would be on my side.” Instead, he kept forcing her not to be afraid to be with him.

“I finally said, ‘Yes,'” she says, “‘I feel unsafe being alone in a room with her!'” Then the sign went down, she says, and she was no longer able to interact with them. Barquist flew to Antarctica, where he tried to avoid the officer. But since his team’s safety depended on talking to him almost every day, he eventually gave up.



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