NPR head of news on indefinite leave after sexual harassment allegations

NPR head of news on indefinite leave after sexual harassment allegations
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National Public Radio placed its senior vice president of news on indefinite leave on Tuesday afternoon after Michael Oreskes was accused of making unwanted physical contact with two women in the 1990s while at The New York Times.

The decision by NPR followed a report in The Washington Post earlier Tuesday that featured two anonymous sources stating Oreskes, who was the Washington bureau chief for The New York Times in the late 1990s, had “unexpectedly kissed them on the lips and stuck his tongue in their mouths” on separate occasions when they had asked for career advice from him.

NPR said it is investigating the allegations. 

Its CEO also assured his employees all allegations of harassment would be taken "very seriously."

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"We take these kinds of allegations very seriously," CEO Jarl Mohn wrote in an internal memo. "If a concern is raised, we review the matter promptly. We take all appropriate steps to assure a safe, comfortable, and productive work environment for everyone at NPR. ... This is our NPR. And I will stand up for it, and every one of you."

NPR has not indicated how long Oreskes will be on leave.

Oreskes is the latest figure from the media and entertainment worlds to be accused of sexual harassment.

NBC News fired senior political analyst Mark Halperin on Monday following allegations made by several woman concerning his conduct while he was with ABC in the 1990s.

Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein was fired from his own company after numerous accusations of sexual harassment and assault.

Former Fox News host Bill O'Reilly was ousted from the network in April amid sexual harassment allegations. Another Fox News host, Eric Bolling, was let go in September, also due to sexual harassment claims.

Also on Monday, The New Republic's president and publisher, Hamilton Fish, was placed on a leave of absence following allegations of misconduct against him.

Last week, The Atlantic's contributing editor, Leon Wieseltier, was fired after multiple women reported they had been sexually harassed by him.

Oreskes was hired by NPR in April 2015 to be its senior vice president of news and editorial director.