NPR C.E.O. Jarl Mohn Apologizes to Staff, Goes on Leave


Since the article appeared in The Post, other information has surfaced concerning Mr. Oreskes, including that a current NPR employee, Rebecca Hersher, complained to NPR in October 2015 about his behavior, just months after his arrival.

Two women had complained to NPR — in the fall of 2016 and last month — about Mr. Oreskes’ conduct when he was working at The New York Times, where he held various jobs for more than two decades.

Mr. Mohn’s leave of absence is perhaps an unsatisfying coda to an embarrassing episode for NPR. Long viewed as a bastion of liberalism, the organization was accused of sweeping sexual harassment allegations under the rug.

Mr. Mohn initially insisted that the news reports had not prompted him to ask for Mr. Oreskes’ resignation. In a memo to his staff last Wednesday announcing Mr. Oreskes’s departure, Mr. Mohn said NPR was already acting on accusations against Mr. Oreskes before The Post’s article was published.

“Some have asked me if it took published news reports for us to take action,” Mr. Mohn said in the memo. “The answer is that it did not.”

He reiterated that position later that afternoon during an interview on NPR’s “All Things Considered.” What had led him to put Mr. Oreskes on leave and then ask for his resignation, Mr. Mohn said, was a new case involving Mr. Oreskes’s interactions with a current employee that was reported to NPR after the news articles were published.

Inside NPR’s newsroom, employees were skeptical, if not outraged. Some questioned Mr. Mohn’s statements about his handling of the matter. On the Friday edition of the program “1A,” Mary Louise Kelly, an NPR correspondent, said it had been “a brutal week in the NPR newsroom.”

During an all-staff meeting on Friday, Mr. Mohn said he had not taken warnings about Mr. Oreskes seriously enough, according to an NPR report. He had let people down, he said, and should have acted faster and more decisively.

In his note on Tuesday, Mr. Mohn said he had “tried hard to be as transparent as possible about our handling of complaints that were raised against Mike Oreskes.”

In the same note, he revealed that there had been a previously undisclosed complaint of sexual harassment against Mr. Oreskes, but that he had not discussed it because it had not been publicly reported.

In addition, Mr. Mohn said, there had been “other signs of Mike’s bad judgment,” including “invalid expenses.” NPR investigated those concerns, Mr. Mohn added, and Mr. Oreskes had recently reimbursed the organization for roughly $1,800.

NPR’s board, Mr. Mohn said, was working to bring on a law firm to review its handling of the allegations against Mr. Oreskes.

Loren Mayor, NPR’s chief operating officer, will manage the organization’s day-to-day operations in Mr. Mohn’s absence. Ms. Mayor joined NPR in 2012 after a five-year stint at PBS.

Though he was not accused of misconduct accusations himself, Mr. Mohn became part of the wave of powerful men in the media and entertainment industries who have been swept up in sexual harassment allegations. Since the publication of articles last month on the many accusations of sexual harassment and assault against the film mogul Harvey Weinstein, numerous men have been forced out of leadership positions and acknowledged inappropriate behavior.

Mr. Mohn said his leave would last a minimum of four weeks.

Continue reading the main story


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here