LA Times Publisher Ross Levinsohn to take unpaid leave of absence

Randal Sanchez
January 20, 2018

Times President Mickie Rosen will lead the newspaper in Levinsohn's absence and Editor in Chief Lewis D'Vorkin will continue to manage the newsroom, Tronc CEO Justin Dearborn said in an email to employees.

The allegations prompted an immediately and furious response from Levinsohn's newsroom, with the Los Angeles Times Guild organizing committee - made up of dozens of employees at the paper - saying it was "appalled by the findings in the NPR story". Ross Levinsohn should resign or be fired immediately. "The company has retained Sidley Austin LLP to conduct a review of the allegations rgarding his behavior".

Levinsohn did not respond to detailed questions from NPR.

"People were gasping. People were cursing", the reporter said.

The Los Angeles Times was for most of its history a deeply conservative institution, reflecting the elitist and regressive politics of Otis, who took control of the Times a year after its founding.

Last week, the union organizing committee published a proposal for new L.A. Times offices that included a rooftop helipad, game room, and branded coffee cups.

She said as well that when asking Levinsohn for a promotion, he told her to model herself after a sideline reporter with Fox Sports, a former model. "Anyone familiar with the history of The Times - and of Los Angeles itself - knows the significance of what we've just accomplished".

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Levinsohn is also reported to have told an executive with Hollywood Reporter that he did want to attend an event in which he would be amongst fags and ladies. The accusations include Levinsohn rating women on appearance, speculating about whether a female staffer was a stripper, using a homophobic slur and "aggressively kissing and pressing himself against" a woman.

The first sexual harassment lawsuit against him and other defendants was litigated in 2001, when he was an executive at internet search company Alta Vista.

He admitted under oath to ranking the "hotness" of female colleagues.

Levinsohn was the Times' fifth publisher in as many years. In other words, the Times has been rapidly cycling through leadership with inky credentials, but no one's been able to fix the paper's problems-so now a newspaper-industry virgin gets to try his hand at saving the day.

The paper's publisher, Tronc, has also firmly rebuffed the union campaign that staffers launched in October, warning that in attempts to negotiate for better compensation, union members may be forced to lose out on other benefits, such as 401 (k) matching.

The statement continued: "We've always been a proud voice for our readers". "Tronc is committed to creating a culture of diversity and inclusion, and we will take appropriate action to address any behavior that is inconsistent with this culture".

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