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LA Times publisher faces calls to step down amid misconduct accusations

LA Times publisher faces calls to step down amid misconduct accusations

Employees at the Los Angeles Times are reportedly calling for CEO and publisher Ross Levinsohn to resign or be fired following an explosive report detailing his inappropriate behavior at several media companies.

NPR reported on Thursday that Levinsohn has been a defendant in two separate sexual harassment lawsuits while at separate companies before joining the Times in August.

The paper’s unionizing committee issued a statement calling for Levinsohn to “resign or be fired immediately,” according to BuzzFeed.

"A man who sexually harasses women, engages in 'slut-shaming' and refers to gay men as 'fags' is not fit to lead our newspaper,” the statement read.

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Levinsohn, NPR reported, used the slur to describe gay members of the fashion industry. In his own testimony, NPR found that Levinsohn admitted to ranking female employees by “hotness” and speculating aloud if a female employee was working as a stripper and engaging in sexual encounters with a co-worker.

Times reporters told BuzzFeed that members of the newsroom were in “shock” over the allegations and wanted Levinsohn to step down or be fired.

“It’s extraordinarily troubling,” one reporter said, adding, “If [the paper's parent company] Tronc keeps him, there will be a lot of serious questions they’ll have to answer because we’re already asking them.”

Some reporters expressed their concern on Twitter.

Tronc, the Times’s parent company, said in a statement to NPR that they are immediately investigating the allegations following NPR’s report. Levinsohn pushed back on the report, calling the allegations “lies” and threatening to retain legal counsel.

Former colleagues and employees of Levinsohn told NPR that Levinsohn had created a “frat house environment.”

Levinsohn has been an executive at several high-profile media companies before joining the Times, including CBS, News Corp., Yahoo and search engine company Alta Vista, where he was the focus of one of the sexual harassment cases.