Published: Sat, January 20, 2018
Economy | By Melissa Porter

LA Times Publisher Tied to Sexual Harassment Claims

LA Times Publisher Tied to Sexual Harassment Claims

The guild is an affiliate of the Communications Workers of America union, which has been organizing at the Times since late 2016.

Los Angeles Times parent company Tronc said it is investigating Times CEO and publisher Ross Levinsohn after allegations surfaced of past sexual harassment and inappropriate workplace behavior, NPR reports.

Ross Levinsohn should resign or be fired immediately. "A man who sexually harasses women, engages in "slut-shaming" and refers to gay men as "f**s" is not fit to lead our newspaper".

One reporter who agreed to talk on the condition that they weren't identified, told BuzzFeed News the reaction in the newsroom to the NPR article was instant shock.

The allegations against Levinsohn span decades, though one comment in particular that roiled Times staffers Thursday allegedly was made in 2013.

Management, in emails to workers, said a union would not be able to solve the fundamental financial challenges facing The Times and other newspaper companies, which have faced steady declines in print advertising revenue coupled with much slower growth - or declines - in online revenue.

The vote comes during an especially turbulent period for the newspaper, whose owner re-branded from Tribune to Tronc in 2016 and installed Ross Levinsohn as publisher and Lewis D'Vorkin as editor.

The Los Angeles Times has been out front doing some serious reporting on numerous sexual harassment and assault scandals that have plagued powerful men in media and entertainment this past year, so it comes as quite a surprise that their CEO and publisher, Ross Levinsohn, has now been accused of similar actions.

In a lengthy story on Thursday, NPR's David Folkenflik reported that a former employee of the search engine Alta Vista had named Levinsohn, among other executives, in a lawsuit. The long-complicated relationship between company and company town was highlighted by Disney's ban of Times journalists last fall in the wake of an investigative series about Disneyland and its close ties with the city of Anaheim. "Levinsohn also testified that he had discussed whether a female subordinate was working as a stripper on the side and that he engaged in speculation about whether she had slept with a co-worker".

Tronc issued a statement saying it was beginning a probe of the matter.

"We are immediately launching an investigation so that we have a better understanding of what's occurred", Pulte said.

"At Tronc", the statement added, "we expect all employees to act in a way that supports a culture of diversity and inclusion".

It must be noted, however, almost every employee interviewed refused to have their names published and Levinsohn has referred to the allegations as "lies". "We will not hesitate to take further action, if appropriate, once the review is complete".

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