NEW YORK — The Associated Press said Monday it had received one complaint of “unwelcome and inappropriate verbal communication” against former executive Michael Oreskes, who lost his job as National Public Radio newsroom chief following sexual-harassment reports.
AP spokeswoman Lauren Easton said the complaint did not involve sexual activity or unwelcome touching and was investigated and acted upon. The complaint was made by an employee while Oreskes worked at the AP and was the only one the news cooperative had received about him, Easton said.
Oreskes was vice president and a senior managing editor at the AP from 2008 to 2015.
“In my eight years at the AP I was on one occasion asked by HR about an exchange of email with a non-editorial staff member,” Oreskes said on Monday. “The exchange was mutual and innocent. We discussed, among other things, my father’s death and the colleges we attended.”
The revelation was an about-face for the AP, which had said on Friday that it would not release information about any complaints made about Oreskes. The company reconsidered its position over the weekend.
Two women who spoke to Oreskes about job prospects when he worked at The New York Times in the 1990s told The Washington Post last week that he had suddenly kissed them in their meetings. Some employees at NPR, where he took over as newsroom leader in 2015, said they were uncomfortable about conversations with him that became too personal. That led NPR’s chief executive to ask for his resignation.
Behavior of men in powerful positions has been in the news following sexual-assault allegations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein and harassment allegations against the likes of actor Kevin Spacey and political reporter Mark Halperin.
The American Society of News Editors said Monday that Oreskes had resigned from the organization’s board of directors and as its secretary.
Weinstein has apologized for causing “a lot of pain” with “the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past” but has denied “any allegations of non-consensual sex.” Spacey, who has been accused of making sexual advances toward a 14-year-old actor in 1986, has said he doesn’t remember such an encounter but apologized if such “drunken behavior” occurred. Halperin, who acknowledges aggressive and crude conduct, has apologized for his behavior and said he sought counseling.