NPR's Top Editor Resigns in Sex Misconduct Scandal

2 women say incidents happened while he was at 'NYT'; one woman is a current NPR employee
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 1, 2017 7:11 AM CDT
Updated Nov 1, 2017 11:36 AM CDT
NPR's Top Editor Accused of Sexual Misconduct
This undated file photo shows Michael Oreskes when he was a managing editor for the AP.   (AP Photo/International Herald Tribune, File)

In the wake of Harvey Weinstein news, NPR's news chief is the latest to come under fire for alleged past sexual misconduct—and he's now stepped down from his post. Michael Oreskes, 63, resigned Wednesday, per the AP, after two women told the Washington Post about incidents in the late 1990s when he was the DC bureau chief at the New York Times. Both women say while talking to him about possible jobs at the Times, he suddenly planted a kiss on their lips and put his tongue in their mouths. When one woman confronted him about it months later, calling it "totally inappropriate," she says he replied: "I was overcome with passion. I couldn't help myself." Neither woman was hired; they say they were spurred to come forward by the Weinstein allegations. In a statement, NPR notes, "We take these kinds of allegations very seriously," though it wouldn't comment on specifics.

Meanwhile, NPR reports on a current employee now making public her own complaint. Science reporter Rebecca Hersher says she filed a grievance against Oreskes in October 2015 after he turned what was supposed to be a career discussion into a "three-hour-long dinner that delved into deeply personal territory." At that meeting, Hersher says, Oreskes steered their talk to relationships and sex, even calling one ex-partner his first "sex girlfriend." Hersher says Oreskes never touched her inappropriately, and she believes he was held "appropriately accountable" after her complaint. But she notes the talk made her uncomfortable and "undercut my confidence in a way that was surprising to me." In a statement Wednesday, Oreskes said, "My behavior was wrong and inexcusable, and I accept full responsibility." NPR CEO Jarl Mohn has appointed Christopher Turpin as NPR's temporary news chief, per CBS News. More at the Post and NPR. (More sexual harassment stories.)

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