Top NPR editor on leave amid reports of harassment

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NPR put its top editor Michael Oreskes on leave amid decades-old reports of sexual harassment from when he worked at The New York Times.

NEW YORKNPR has placed its top editor, Michael Oreskes, on “administrative leave” amid accusations that he sexually harassed two women decades ago while he was working at The New York Times.

Oreskes, the senior vice president for news at NPR, has not responded to requests for comment from CNNMoney.

In a Wednesday morning memo to staff, NPR CEO Jarl Mohn stressed that the company is taking the allegations seriously.

“I’m writing to share that I’ve asked Vice President of News Programming and Operations Chris Turpin to take on interim leadership of the newsroom,” Mohn said. “Starting today, Chris will serve in the capacity of the Senior Vice President of News for NPR and oversee both strategic direction and day to day operations related to our journalism.”

Mohn’s memo is an indication that Oreskes will not be returning to work anytime soon.

Mohn also urged staff to contact human resources, the legal department, or his office directly “if you believe you have experienced or are aware of any incidence of harassment or other inappropriate behavior.”

Oreskes allegedly made unwanted sexual advances toward two journalists who were seeking jobs at The New York Times two decades ago. Both accusers say that Oreskes unexpectedly kissed them during career-oriented business meetings while he was working as the Times’ Washington bureau chief, according to The Washington Post, which broke the story on Tuesday.

A third accuser, who currently works at NPR, said she filed a complaint about him to NPR’s human resources department in October 2015, according to NPR’s own reporting on Oreskes. Her complaint said Oreskes “hijacked a career counseling session into a three-hour-long dinner that delved into deeply personal territory” and included mentions of sex with a former girlfriend.

The network, at the time, rebuked Oreskes and informed other executives at the company after the complaint was filed, according to NPR’s own reporting.

After the story broke Tuesday about his alleged prior behavior, NPR officials placed him on leave.

A spokeswoman for NPR told CNNMoney, “We take these kinds of allegations very seriously. If a concern is raised, we review the matter promptly and take appropriate steps as warranted to assure a safe, comfortable and productive work environment.”