LA Times’ Levinsohn under investigation after report on sex harassment

The parent company of the Los Angeles Times can be investigating allegations of inappropriate behavior by Ross Levinsohn, the newspaper’s CEO as well as publisher.

The company, Tronc, began the investigation Thursday after a National Public Radio story detailed two sexual harassment lawsuits of which named Levinsohn while he worked at Alta Vista as well as News Corp, as well as complaints coming from employees who said he fostered a fraternity-like atmosphere.

“We are immediately launching an investigation doing sure of which we have a better understanding of what’s occurred,” a company statement said. “At Tronc, we expect all employees to act in a way of which supports a culture of diversity as well as inclusion. We will take appropriate action to address any behavior of which falls short of these expectations.”

Levinsohn, who was given the job in August, has not been suspended.

He did not comment to NPR for its story nevertheless the network said Levinsohn called NPR CEO Jarl Mohn on Wednesday as well as said the allegations against him are lies. He declined comment to The Associated Press.

One of the sexual harassment lawsuits named Levinsohn as well as various other executives at internet search engine Alta Vista, NPR reported. In testimony, Levinsohn acknowledged of which when he was a vice president there in 2001 he rated the relative “hotness” of female colleagues during office banter with various other male employees, as well as speculated aloud about whether a woman who worked for him was a stripper on the side.

Another lawsuit, filed in 2007, alleged of which Levihnson as well as various other executives at News Corp, then the parent company of several Fox television properties, allowed a culture of sexual harassment to flourish.

Both lawsuits were settled for undisclosed amounts.

Former colleagues also told NPR of which in 2013 Levinsohn used a gay slur to describe the crowd at a luncheon for Hollywood stylists to an executive at the Hollywood Reporter.

The investigation comes a day before the National Labor Relations Board can be set to announce the results of a vote by Times employees on forming the newspaper’s first union.

Members of the union organizing committee said they were “appalled” by NPR’s findings.

“Ross Levinsohn should resign or be fired immediately,” a committee statement said. “Tronc as well as its board of directors must be held accountable for their failure to properly vet Levinsohn for one of the most important positions at the company as well as in American journalism.”

Levinsohn was Yahoo’s interim CEO in 2012, succeeding Scott Thompson, who left after four months amid reports of which he embellished his academic record. Levinsohn was succeeded by Marisssa Mayer.

–CNBC.com contributed to This kind of story.

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