The host of a popular NPR radio program was placed on leave after being accused of creating a toxic and emotionally unsafe work environment. Boston.com reports that Tom Ashbrook, the host of WBUR’s nationally syndicated “On Point” program, is accused of “creepy” sex talks and unwanted touching of co-workers.
He was placed on leave while the allegations are investigated, the story reports.
WBUR News reported that a group of current and former WBUR employees filed a complaint last week.
“According to the public radio station, 11 young men and women filed a 15-page document Thursday containing testimonials that allege Ashbrook belittled ideas in meetings, engaged in name-calling, directed tirades at young women in the studio, and gave ‘creepy’ sex talks, hugs, and back or neck rubs after reprimands, according to WBUR News,” Boston.com reports. “WBUR and Boston University announced Ashbrook was placed on leave Friday while an outside organization examines the allegations.”
A former producer who signed the complaint is quoted by WBUR saying: “I worry that Tom’s behavior discourages young women from continuing in journalism.”
Ashbrook responded with a statement saying he was “stunned” by the allegations and noting that the nature of the allegations had not been shared with him.
“In the pressure of a live radio environment, I have at times been a tough and demanding boss,” he told WBUR News. “We aspire to put out a top-notch show. Many people have thrived in that environment; a few have not.”
Ashbrook added: “I can’t describe how deeply unsettling this is to me. I am sure that once the facts come out that people will see me for who I am — flawed but caring and decent in all my dealings with others.”