Another man, atop another media organization, goes down.
Hamilton Fish, the president and publisher of the New Republic, has resigned from his position just days after the organization launched an investigation into his treatment of female employees. A memo from Win McCormack to New Republic staffers made the news official. “This won’t mean an end to the inquiry we’ve commissioned, as we want to understand everyone’s experiences in full, both on their own terms and for the purpose of looking ahead. If you happen not yet to have received the investigator’s contact details, with our invitation to connect with her, you should expect to today,” wrote McCormack. Fish had previously taken a leave of absence.
As HuffPost reported, Fish allegedly put his hands around the neck of a female colleague when he worked for the Nation Institute a decade ago. Upon his accession to the New Republic, female staffers at the magazine were warned of his approach to women. “Fish often made bizarre or suggestive remarks at work — a problem that was compounded by the power he wielded over staffers’ salaries, vacation days and parental leave,” reported HuffPost.
In a letter upon his resignation, Fish mentioned that men have “a lot to learn” when it comes to the proper treatment of women in the workplace. “I know I do, and I hope for and encourage that new direction.” The office culture at the magazine, wrote Fish, has been “harmed” and the best way to help is “by withdrawing.”
While the New Republic is often celebrated for the caliber of its essays over the years, it has made a more dubious sort of history on the HR front. As the world recently discovered, Leon Wieseltier, the three-decade literary editor of the magazine, reportedly delighted in placing women in sexually uncomfortable positions, preying on young staffers and even approaching an employee of the management company in the magazine’s offices. In an unforgettable piece in The Atlantic, contributing editor Michelle Cottle wrote:
My own Leon test took place after a party that the New Republic was hosting in New York City shortly after I came aboard. Leon was eager to show me the hotel where he was staying (it had some connection to old New York literary types), so he invited me to its bar for a drink. When we arrived, however, he decreed the bar too crowded and insisted we go up to his room and order room service. (If I recall correctly, champagne—a Leon favorite.) There, I spent an awkward hour or so with his name-dropping (at one point, he answered the phone, then shared with me that Tina Brown wanted him to come have drinks with her and David Bowie); grilling me about my personal life (even then I was living with my husband-to-be); and relishing my obvious discomfort at the situation.
Former ABC News political director Mark Halperin last week admitted to sexual misconduct. This week, Michael Oreskes resigned from his post leading NPR’s newsroom. Politico reported on Thursday that Mother Jones Washington Bureau Chief David Corn had been investigated for inappropriate conduct. (Disclosure: The wife of the Erik Wemple Blog is a reporter at Mother Jones.) More investigations will surely surface in the coming weeks.