Oxford American Founder Out Amid Sex Harass Claims

Marc Smirnoff's defense: I'm like Ricky Gervais

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 9, 2012 11:43 AM CDT

(Newser) – The founder of the Southern literary mainstay the Oxford American has been unceremoniously dumped amid claims of frequent sexual harassment. Marc Smirnoff, who founded the magazine in 1992 and edited it until his ouster, was driven out by its board of directors after pushing a 19-year-old intern to ride home alone with him; on the way, he asked her to hold hands and join him at a favorite "make-out spot," according to both the intern and Smirnoff himself.

He acknowledges having hugged and kissed her on the head that week, but tells the New York Times that "it was acceptable to her in that moment" and that his actions toward her and others were "paternalistic and nonsexual." A board investigation following the incident, however, turned up a pattern of sexual harassment at work. He says his conduct walks a "fine line" comparable to that of Ricky Gervais on The Office; he and his longtime girlfriend—also fired in the dustup—have written a 53-page account of their side of the story. The 20,000-subscriber magazine has hired a guest editor for its next issue, and its publisher is seeking a new permanent editor.

The founder of the 'Oxford American' has been fired after accusations of sexual harassment.
The founder of the 'Oxford American' has been fired after accusations of sexual harassment.   (OxfordAmerican.org)
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