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.
The report says a review by NPR found that Levinsohn “has been a defendant in two sexual harassment lawsuits and that his conduct in work settings over the past two decades has been called into question repeatedly by female colleagues.”
NPR says it reviewed “court documents, financial filings and fresh interviews with 26 former colleagues and associates. Taken in concert, they suggest a pattern of questionable behavior and questionable decisions on the job. The portrait that repeatedly emerges is one of a frat-boy executive, catapulting ever higher, even as he creates corporate climates that alienated some of the people who worked for and with him.”
Among the accusations listed by NPR: “Levinsohn was sued in separate sexual harassment lawsuits as an executive at two different corporations. By his own sworn testimony, Levinsohn admitted to rating the relative ‘hotness’ of his female colleagues in office banter as a vice president at a digital media company. He also testified that he speculated about whether a woman who worked for him there was a stripper on the side.”
The report adds: “Two witnesses say they were shocked to see Levinsohn aggressively kissing and pressing himself against a woman at a glitzy music industry dinner in plain view of his subordinates and his clients. Levinsohn was married at the time.”
The report quotes a statement issued on Tronc’s behalf that says: “This week, we became aware of allegations that Ross Levinsohn acted inappropriately. We are immediately launching an investigation so that we have a better understanding of what’s occurred. At Tronc, we expect all employees to act in a way that supports a culture of diversity and inclusion. We will take appropriate action to address any behavior that falls short of these expectations.”