NEW ORLEANS -- The former Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club president who earlier this year was accused of sexual harassment appeared in court Thursday, but not to fight those allegations. Instead, Naaman Stewart is suing Zulu.
Stewart was tight lipped as he left Civil District Court. His attorney, however, made it clear what Stewart wants: to be King Zulu 2019.
Stewart says Zulu violated its bylaws when members voted to suspend him indefinitely and remove him as king after the sexual harassment allegations surfaced.
An injunction Stewart filed argued that there are procedures that would’ve needed to happen before the club could discipline him, such as being found guilty by a grievance committee and having the ability to appeal the decision. Stewart’s attorney said that did not happen.
“As a dues-paying member of any organization, you're entitled to abide by the bylaws and be protected by the procedures outlined in those bylaws,” Nick Lindner, Stewart’s attorney, said.
A former Zulu club employee filed a civil lawsuit alleging Stewart followed her into a bathroom at the organization's South Broad Street headquarters and sexually harassed her. That case was dismissed because the statute of limitations had passed, but there was a supplemental petition for damages filed last month.
Stewart was confirmed as king, but an audio recording of the alleged encounter was released days later.
Zulu’s board of directors then voted to suspend Stewart indefinitely, and members voted to remove him as king.
“When the board suspended Stewart, it wasn't a unanimous vote,” Lindner said. “Zulu is a large organization. So, the point is he's been a member for 28 years, he's looking for the process that he's afforded under the bylaws.”
A Zulu spokesman said the organization would not issue a statement while the case is still open.
Kristin Pierce can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.