As LA Times publisher takes unpaid leave amid harassment claims, his newsroom unionizes

Another liberal media bigwig bites the dust.

The Los Angeles Times experienced a mighty shakeup after the revelation of sexual misconduct accusations against CEO Ross Levinsohn prompted the paper to put him on paid leave. The company’s employees responded to the news by unionizing.

LA Times CEO Ross Levinsohn. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File).

A Thursday report by National Public Radio unearthed two sexual harassment lawsuits against Levinsohn. The story featured interviews with 26 former colleagues and associates.

Allegations against the publisher ranged from “aggressively kissing and pressing himself against” a woman, using a homophobic slur, and speculating about whether a female staffer was a stripper.

Tronc, the LA Times’ parent company, hired an independent firm to perform a probe of the accusations. The corporation asserted it performed due diligence in screening Levinsohn’s background prior to hiring him.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the newspaper’s staff were shaken by the allegations against their CEO, with some exclaiming “oh my God” and “wow” as they read the story.

Within 24 hours after the NPR piece was published, LA Times employees voted in favor of unionizing in a landslide 248-44 vote.

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The front entrance to the Los Angeles Times Building in downtown Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel).

A statement from the lead committee published by Poynter read:

“Today we made history. For the first time since the Los Angeles Times printed its inaugural edition in 1881, our journalists have voted to form a union.

“We’ve long been a proud voice for our readers. Finally, we can be a proud voice for ourselves. Anyone familiar with the history of The Times — and of Los Angeles itself — knows the significance of what we’ve just accomplished.”

Levinsohn has been with the newspaper since August. Prior to the LA Times, he held leadership positions at CBS, Fox Sports, and Yahoo.

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel).

Levinsohn is the latest high-profile figure at a media company to be the subject of sexual misconduct allegations.

NPR host Tom Ashbrook was suspended last month for “creepy” misconduct accusations. Top NPR editor Michael Oreskes resigned due to allegedly making unwanted sexual advances on female colleagues.

Lockhart Steele, editorial director of the liberal website Vox, was fired in October over “sexual misconduct.” Charlie Rose of CBS and Matt Lauer of NBC were also dismissed for sexual allegations.

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Former NBC “Today” co-host Matt Lauer. (Photo by Noam Galai/WireImage).

After years of waging war on middle America, the liberal media is coming apart at the seams.


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