At the time of his suspension, Lopate told the New York Times that he was blindsided by complaints about his behavior, but a New York Public Radio spokeswoman said Thursday that Lopate had been warned earlier this year about “creating an uncomfortable work environment” and had received one-on-one anti-harassment training.
The spokeswoman said Schwartz had been disciplined for previous complaints, as well.
Also this month, recently retired WNYC host John Hockenberry apologized after several women accused him of having harassed or kissed them without consent.
“Looking back, my behavior was not always appropriate, and I'm sorry,” he said. “It horrifies me that I made the talented and driven people I worked with feel uncomfortable and that the stress around putting together a great show was made worse by my behavior. Having to deal with my own physical limitations has given me an understanding of powerlessness, and I should have been more aware of how the power I wielded over others, coupled with inappropriate comments and communications, could be construed. I have no excuses.”
Hockenberry is a paraplegic.
At WBUR, another flagship member of the public radio system, host Tom Ashbrook has been suspended and is the subject of two outside investigations into alleged misconduct, one focused on workplace culture, in general, and one devoted to sexual harassment, in particular. Eleven current and former station employees complained to the Boston NPR affiliate this month, describing unwanted hugs, back and neck rubs, and graphic sexual comments. More came forward later, bringing the total to 23.
I reported last weekend that donations continue to flow at many public broadcasting stations, but WNYC and WBUR did not respond to inquiries about their contribution levels.
Misconduct accusations have taken some of the biggest names in public broadcasting off the air. PBS dropped Charlie Rose's program after eight women told The Washington Post that he had harassed them in various ways, including groping them and exposing himself.
PBS also stopped distributing Tavis Smiley's show after an investigation “found credible allegations that Smiley had engaged in sexual relationships with multiple subordinates,” Variety reported. The magazine added that “some witnesses interviewed expressed concern that their employment status was linked to the status of a sexual relationship with Smiley.”
Minnesota Public Radio and its parent company, American Public Media, cut ties with Garrison Keillor, citing “inappropriate behavior with an individual who worked with him.”
Keillor and Smiley have pushed back hard against the accusations. Smiley is even threatening a lawsuit.
“If this does end up in court, the real tragedy is millions of taxpayer money is going to be spent for PBS to defend itself against this bad decision,” he said Monday on CNN.
To say that public broadcasting is not exempt now appears to be an understatement. Public broadcasting is becoming one of the centers of the national #MeToo conversation.