The Next Stage in the National Harassment Story? The Executives Who Knew and Did Nothing

The latest episode, broken by New York Magazine’s The Cut, involves harassment allegations against now-retired NPR personality, John Hockenberry. (Link here)

What happens next shows the Ghost of Christmas Future.

There is outrage that Hockenberry’s employer did so little after being told of the initial allegations. She admits knowing of the allegations for months–and NPR contributors are not happy.

Calls for public radio president Laura Walker to resign after ‘cowardly’ response to sex harassment claims–Fox News

If, as I expect, the story expands from “who did it” to “who covered it up,” then a lot of executives will be in deep trouble.

It’s one thing for Hollywood stars and producers to know about Harvey Weinstein and stay silent. That’s morally troubling, but, because they are not his employer, they don’t have an affirmative, legal obligations to act.

That’s not true for, say, the executives at NBC who employed the immensely-profitable Matt Lauer. They had a responsibility to protect their other employees from his predations and to create a safe workplace. Instead, they allowed the installation of a “lock-the-door” button in his office so he could drop his pants.

Who is in the line of here? The executives who worked most closely with Lauer over the years. High on that list are NBC’s Andrew Lack and Jeff Zucker, formerly at NBC, now at CNN.

 

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