"Steve McPherson resigned from ABC as the company conducted an internal sexual harassment investigation of the executive, according to a source," reports Kim Masters at The Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed blog. (Though the Reuters version of the story, which can be found at ABC News’ Entertainment site, carries the byline of Masters’ THR colleague, James Hibberd, who created the Live Feed blog.)
In response to a request to comment by THR, McPherson’s attorney, Tom Hoberman, issued the following statement to THR:
"Upon Steve McPherson returning to work from his vacation on Monday, he made a voluntary decision to resign and ABC accepted his resignation. It is not uncommon for high level executives to be the subject of gossip and innuendo. That would include rumors of internal situations which can easily be misinterpreted or misrepresented. Seems like it goes with the territory, and there is nothing further to discuss."
According to the story, ABC, when asked for comment, choose just to reissue its previously issued statement about McPherson’s resignation, to which THR said, "ABC pointedly did not deny allegations of inappropriate conduct were involved" in McPherson’s resignation.
Said the THR article, "A source says multiple harassment complaints were made involving the entertainment chief and that the company had been conducting a formal investigation into his behavior for three weeks leading up to his resignation.
"Sources said the alleged incidents involved several women, including some executives and on-air talent. The inquiry expanded to include email. A source said an incident at a company retreat, witnessed by more than one staffer, was also part of the inquiry."
As previously reported, when ABC Entertainment Group President McPherson resigned on July 27, 2010, ABC’s statement said, " "Steve McPherson today submitted his resignation as President, ABC Entertainment Group, and the Company accepted. Mr. McPherson said, ‘I want to thank the wonderful team of individuals who have worked with me throughout my time here and wish them nothing but the best.’ A replacement for Mr. McPherson will be announced shortly."