Top NPR Editor Resigns After Sexual Harassment Allegations

He was placed on leave Tuesday after the Washington Post published two women's accusations.

Top NPR editor Michael Oreskes resigned Wednesday after two women came forward with sexual harassment allegations against him.

“My behavior was wrong and inexcusable, and I accept full responsibility,” he said in a statement published by the Associated Press.

In an email to NPR staff on Wednesday, the outlet’s CEO Jarl Mohn said he “asked Mike Oreskes for his resignation because of inappropriate behavior.” His resignation is effective immediately, Mohn wrote.

The accusations against Oreskes came to light Tuesday when the Washington Post published the two women’s accounts. Oreskes, who had been serving as NPR’s senior vice president of news and editorial director since 2015, was placed on leave hours later.

Both women alleged that Oreskes nonconsensually kissed them during business meetings in the late 1990s while he was working at the New York Times. They said they didn’t speak out at the time out of fear that doing so would jeopardize their employment opportunities, but they told the Post the number of women speaking out against sexual harassment by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein and other high-ranking media figures motivated them to come forward.

Michael Oreskes in 2008.
Michael Oreskes in 2008.
David S. Holloway via Getty Images

Both women brought their allegations to NPR earlier this month and the company’s attorney told them NPR would look into the matter.

Mohn echoed that sequence of events in his email to the staff.

“Some have asked me if it took published news reports for us to take action,” Mohn wrote. “The answer is that it did not. We have been acting. Some of the steps we took were visible and others weren’t. We have a process in place and we followed that process.”

However, several women in the newsroom have reportedly taken issue with NPR’s handling of the situation. They’ve drafted a petition signed by some of the outlet’s most well-known female correspondents and hosts, the Post reported.

“We are profoundly concerned by how NPR has handled sexual harassment reports and senior management’s insufficient efforts to create a workplace environment free of harassment and one that ensures equal opportunity for all employees,” the petition reportedly reads.

This story has been updated to include comments from Mohn and an excerpt from the petition.

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