New York Public Radio has fired Leonard Lopate and Jonathan Schwartz after an investigation found that the longtime hosts had violated the station’s standards “for providing an inclusive, appropriate, and respectful work environment,” according to a statement Thursday.
WNYC placed the hosts on leave earlier this month following allegations of inappropriate behavior and sought outside counsel to investigate. Investigators “interviewed multiple witnesses as well as Lopate and Schwartz,” the station said.
WNYC said Lopate had made inappropriate remarks to his staff in February and was warned about creating an uncomfortable work environment. He was also required to take one-on-one anti-harassment training. Meanwhile, WNYC said it had received multiple complaints about Schwartz, including in November, and that the host had received disciplinary action.
“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,” the statement said. “But our higher commitment continues to be to ensure an inclusive and respectful environment for our staff, guests and listeners.”
Lopate was host of The Leonard Lopate Show, a weekday two-hour arts and culture program. He had been a host on WNYC for more than 30 years. Schwartz hosted weekend shows on the station and had been with the station since 1999.
The dismissals follow allegations against another longtime WNYC host, John Hockenberry, who was recently the subject of complaints from multiple women alleging sexual harassment, bullying and fostering a toxic work environment that failed to protect women.
At a WNYC board meeting last week, the first since allegations against the hosts were revealed, CEO Laura Walker said the station had hired an outside investigator and two lawyers to look into the claims.
I am sickened at heart by what New York Public Radio has done to Jonathan Schwartz and Leonard Lopate.
For me personally, Jonathan Schwartz was a cherished icon. And I feel violated because I have been deprived of his presence on air.
Hey, WNYC – do my feelings of violation mean anything to you?
I haven’t seen any accusations of physical assault. Thus we are dealing with reactions to misdemeanors, and the station’s actions in dismissing both these men are far too draconian.
Crying at heart today.
Has there been ANY due process here? Or have 40- to 50-year careers been demolished without the benefit of a full hearing, in court if necessary? I don’t believe in evaporating a person’s career overnight without a GREAT DEAL of investigation and a full defense being permitted.