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

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It’s been fairly a 24-hour span for the Los Angeles Occasions, as writer and CEO Ross Levinsohn takes an unpaid go away after Nationwide Public Radio detailed a prolonged historical past of sexual misconduct accusations towards him.

In the meantime, because the newsroom turned on Levinsohn, editorial workers voted to go union and can start to barter a primary contract with administration.

Levinsohn agreed to take an unpaid go away of absence, Tronc CEO Justin Dearborn instructed staffers on Friday, in keeping with NPR.  

The NPR bombshell revealed a pair of sexual harassment lawsuits towards Levinsohn in a narrative that options interviews with 26 former colleagues and associates. The accusations embrace Levinsohn score girls on look, speculating about whether or not a feminine staffer was a stripper, utilizing a homophobic slur and “aggressively kissing and urgent himself towards” a lady.

Tronc has employed an outdoor agency to conduct a overview of the allegations, NPR reported. 

There was a “newsroom revolt” towards Levinsohn, NPR’s David Folkenflik, who broke the sexual misconduct story, tweeted on Friday. Folkenflik additionally reported that the organizing committee who pushed for the newsroom to unionize known as for Levinsohn to be fired.

“When the NPR article was revealed Thursday, a hush fell over the Occasions newsroom, with exclamations of ‘oh my God’ or ‘wow’ often puncturing the silence as employees learn the story,” The Wall Road Journal reported, citing “an individual who was current.”

Lower than 24 hours after the NPR bombshell broke, L.A. Occasions workers voted to unionize in a landslide 248-44 vote.

“At the moment we made historical past. For the primary time because the Los Angeles Occasions printed its inaugural version in 1881, our journalists have voted to kind a union,” members of the lead committee stated in a press release revealed by Poynter.

The assertion continued: “We’ve lengthy been a proud voice for our readers. Lastly, we generally is a proud voice for ourselves. Anybody accustomed to the historical past of The Occasions — and of Los Angeles itself — is aware of the importance of what we’ve simply achieved.”

Levinsohn, a former Yahoo government, has been on the paper solely since August. 

“I’m instructed Tronc did observe normal due diligence protocols previous to Levinsohn’s hiring as writer — together with searches for felony and civil court docket proceedings. Exterior overview can be to find out why harassment fits I uncovered didn’t increase flags,” Folkenflik tweeted. 

Tronc didn’t reply to request for remark. 

Brian Flood covers the media for Fox Information. Observe him on Twitter at @briansflood.

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