Sex Harassment Claims Bring Down 'Literary Legend'

Leon Wieseltier's new magazine has been axed
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 25, 2017 7:11 AM CDT
Sex Harassment Claims Bring Down Literary Mag Editor
In this Sunday, June 9, 2013 photo, Leon Wieseltier poses for a photograph in Tel Aviv, Israel.   (AP Photo/Dan Balilty)

Former New Republic literary editor Leon Wieseltier's comeback has abruptly stalled amid accusations of sleazy behavior. Wieseltier, long prominent in social and literary circles and a New Republic editor for three decades, had been installed as editor of Idea, a new literary magazine funded by Laurene Powell Jobs, but the publication was axed after multiple women accused him of sexual harassment, the New York Times reports. Sources tell the Times that more than a dozen former New Republic staffers shared stories on an email chain about how Wieseltier, 65, had made passes at them, kissed them "sloppily" on the mouth, asked about their sex lives, and told them their dresses weren't tight enough. The women were apparently inspired to come forward by Harvey Weinstein's downfall.

Wieseltier apologized Tuesday for "misdeeds" against female colleagues. "I am ashamed to know that I made any of them feel demeaned and disrespected," he said. The first edition of Idea was already completed and was to be released next week. Wieseltier left the New Republic in late 2014 after a dispute with then-editor Chris Hughes. Hughes tells Politico that in October that year, he received a complaint about unwanted sexual advances and warned Wieseltier that there was a zero tolerance policy for sexual harassment. The Atlantic—where Wieseltier is a contributing editor—reports that he is among dozens of men named on a spreadsheet entitled "SH---- MEDIA MEN" that has been circulating for at least a week. (Read more sexual harassment stories.)

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