January 23, 2018

New York Public Radio Fires WNYC Hosts Leonard Lopate and Jonathan Schwartz

New York Public Radio Fires WNYC Hosts Leonard Lopate and Jonathan Schwartz


Before firing Mr. Lopate and Mr. Schwartz, investigators interviewed both men and multiple witnesses, the company said. After he was placed on leave, Mr. Lopate told The New York Times that he was “really quite shocked and upset” by the decision and vowed that he had “never done anything inappropriate on any level.”

Mr. Lopate was unavailable for comment, and a family member of Mr. Schwartz’s said he declined to comment.

Photo

Jonathan Schwartz at a WNYC studio, with Laura Walker, chief executive of New York Public Radio, in 2013.

Credit
Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times

In an internal memo circulated to employees, Laura R. Walker, the chief executive of New York Public Radio, wrote that “this is an extremely difficult time for everyone at NYPR” and said that WNYC producers would “be at work developing new programming that invites necessary conversations and addresses the most important, intriguing issues in American culture and the way we live now in New York.”

Another well-known WNYC headliner, John Hockenberry, who hosted “The Takeaway” until he retired in August, was accused this month by several women of sexual harassment, unwanted touching and bullying. Allegations have also emerged against several other powerful men in public radio, including Michael Oreskes, who led NPR’s news division; Garrison Keillor, the creator and retired host of “A Prairie Home Companion” for Minnesota Public Radio; and David Sweeney, NPR’s chief news editor.

Jennifer Houlihan Roussel, a spokeswoman for New York Public Radio, declined to detail the nature of the allegations against the two hosts.

“We recognize that Leonard Lopate and Jonathan Schwartz have made many contributions to New York Public Radio and we are deeply saddened to have to take these steps,” she said in a statement. “But our higher commitment continues to be to ensure an inclusive and respectful environment for our staff, guests and listeners.”



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