Following accusations of sexual misconduct, Devon Broglie, former chairman of the Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas (CMS–A), has been placed on administrative leave from his position as Global Beverage Buyer for Whole Foods Market, a spokesperson told VinePair on Monday evening.
On Nov. 6, Broglie resigned as chairman of the CMS–A after allegations against him were published in a New York Times article. A spokesperson for the CMS–A told the Times his resignation was unrelated to the case.
“We are aware of the serious allegations outlined in the New York Times stories about the Court of Master Sommeliers and have placed Devon Broglie on administrative leave as we investigate this matter internally,” Whole Foods Market wrote in an email.
Broglie’s case is the latest in a string of damning allegations of sexual abuse against members of the CMS–A, first made public by a New York Times report on Oct. 29. In the article, 21 female sommeliers shared accounts of sexual harassment with the Times. Broglie was not among the accused members, but a follow-up article published Nov. 6 centered on allegations against him from a former CMS–A candidate.
Marie-Louise Friedland, a sommelier working towards the Certified Sommelier Examination, said Broglie made multiple sexual advances while he was acting as her mentor in 2013.
“At first I was flattered, but also very confused and afraid,” Friedland told the Times. “I never enjoyed our encounters, and really tried to make that clear in the hopes that he would stop trying.”
Friedland eventually abandoned her candidacy with the CMS–A and left the sommelier profession. She is now studying for a master’s degree in gastronomy at Boston University.
Although Broglie has been placed on administrative leave according to Whole Foods Market, at the time of publishing, there is no mention of the pending investigation against Broglie on his corporate Whole Foods Market profile. His Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts still cite the Amazon-owned supermarket as his employer.