The Los Angeles Times has been humiliated by its Publisher and Chief Executive Ross Levinsohn, who was placed on an unpaid leave of absence Friday as the paper’s parent company, Tronc, investigates allegations of inappropriate conduct while he was an executive at other companies.
Times President Mickie Rosen will lead the newspaper in Levinsohn’s absence and Editor in Chief Lewis D’Vorkin will continue to manage the newsroom, Tronc CEO Justin Dearborn said in an email to employees. Rosen and D’Vorkin were both appointed to leadership roles in October.
Tronc said it has hired the law firm Sidley Austin LLP to review the allegations contained in a detailed report Thursday by National Public Radio. The report, by media correspondent David Folkenflik, found that Levinsohn was a defendant in two sexual harassment lawsuits and that he allegedly engaged in “frat-boy” behavior in work settings before joining The Times on Aug. 21.
In addition, NPR reported that Levinsohn allegedly used sexist and homophobic language when talking with colleagues and subordinates. In one instance, Levinsohn acknowledged that he had rated the relative “hotness” of his female colleagues while he served as an executive at the search engine AltaVista in the early 2000s, according to court documents reviewed by NPR. He also said he speculated about whether a female subordinate had a side job as a stripper.