Top editor at German tabloid Bild relieved of duties after NYT story

The top editor at the German tabloid Bild has been relieved of his duties following a New York Times report alleging misconduct and abuse of power, the publication's parent company announced on Monday. 

Julian Reichelt, who has served as Bild's editor in chief since 2017, was relieved of his duties after parent company Axel Springer said it conducted an internal investigation into Reichelt following reporting in The New York Times on his conduct in the workplace. 

Reichelt has denied abusing his power as a top editor at Bild, the Times reported

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The Times story described allegations that Reichelt had maintained romantic relationships with subordinate female employees and gave one a high-profile job, one she felt she wasn’t ready for, while he continued to summon her to hotel rooms after the promotion. 

“That’s how it always goes at Bild,” the woman told investigators from a law firm hired by Bild’s parent company, Axel Springer, the Times reported. “Those who sleep with the boss get a better job.”

Axel Springer's investigation earlier this year quickly closed, clearing Reichelt, the Times reported. A spokeswoman for the company and Reichelt told the Times the woman’s testimony included “some inaccurate facts,” but declined to specify which ones. 

"As a result of press research, the company had gained new insights into the current behavior of Julian Reichelt in the last few days," Axel Springer said in a new statement issued on Monday. "The company investigated this information. The management board learned that Julian Reichelt did not clearly separate personal and professional matters even after completing the compliance procedure in spring 2021 and told the management board the untruth." 

Mathias Döpfner, Axel Springer's chief executive, said the company "would have liked to continue the path of cultural renewal we have taken with the editorial team and the publishing house at BILD together with Julian Reichelt," but that was "no longer possible." 

The company noted in its statement there were "never any allegations of sexual harassment or sexual assault" against Reichelt but conceded there "were allegations of amicable love affairs with BILD employees and indications of abuse of power in this context." 

A previous relationship with a Bild employee was proven and acknowledged, the company said, adding it "remained controversial" whether that employee was granted professional advantages because of that relationship.

Axel Springer struck a deal to purchase Politico in August for a reported $1 billion.