The director of a Seattle-area homeless agency has formally resigned following outrage over a provocative performance at an annual homelessness conference.
According to the Seattle Times, the incident occurred last week in a King County office building, where entertainer Beyoncé Black St. James danced topless and gave lap dances to attendees. The outlet reports the dancer was hired by Kira Zylstra—the director of All Home agency, which helps coordinate homeless services in Seattle. Video of the performance was captured by someone at the conference, and was then sent to Christopher Rufo, a researcher at the public policy think tank Discovery Institute.
"I got a contact from an anonymous tipster who provided video from inside the conference," Rufo told KIRO7. "And it's almost incredible to believe that this is funded by taxpayer dollars right here in King County."
Sources told the Times some of the attendees—which included government employees, nonprofit workers, and members of the faith community—felt uncomfortable with the entertainment.
"I’m not personally offended by it, it just seemed so wrong and out of place for what we were there for," Rev. Bill Kirlin-Hackett told the outlet, expressing concern that the video would harm the goal of ending Seattle homelessness. "I just knew it was going to hit social media and when it hit social media, this is kind of like what every opponent of the collective work would wish for."
Kirlin-Hackett was right. After Rufo shared the footage online, All Homes announced it was investigating the incident and that Zylstra was placed on paid leave. Shortly after the suspension, King County officials confirmed Zylstra, who served as the agency's director since January 2018, had resigned. Denise Rothleutner, the King County Department of Community and Human Services chief of staff, will run All Home until a replacement is found.