John Hockenberry, Former WNYC Radio Host, Is Accused of Sexual Harassment

John Hockenberry, Former WNYC Radio Host, Is Accused of Sexual Harassment


“Probably inside 30 seconds he said to me, in front of the staff, ‘If it feels like a slave plantation mentality here, that’s because it is,’” said Ms. Carroll, who is black. He went on to talk about his efforts championing black voices, she added.

Mr. Hockenberry, 61, helped to start the show, which WNYC had hoped would appeal to minorities, in 2008. Early on, Mr. Hockenberry shared the spotlight with a succession of minority women as co-hosts, but he became its only host in 2012 when the show switched formats. The New York Times was an early collaborator on the program.

Mr. Hockenberry, who was paralyzed in a car accident decades ago, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday, but he did provide the following statement to Ms. Kim:

“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.”

New York Public Radio, which owns WNYC, and Public Radio International together produce “The Takeaway” and did not renew Mr. Hockenberry’s contract as host when it expired on June 30, a spokeswoman said.

In its own news report on the allegations against Mr. Hockenberry, WNYC said on Monday that his performance seemed to suffer around late 2016, with producers noting that he seemed sluggish and unprepared. Then, in early 2017, Ms. Kim filed a formal complaint about his behavior. It is not clear whether or how those factors weighed into the decision to let Mr. Hockenberry’s contract expire.

Laura Walker, the president and chief executive of New York Public Radio, said in a statement that she was “deeply disturbed” by the allegations.

“Some of the behaviors described in the media were known to NYPR, and we investigated and took action at the time,” Ms. Walker said. “We learned about other allegations some time after he left the show following the decision by NYPR and PRI to not renew his contract. And some, we learned about for the first time in media reports.”

The New York Public Radio spokeswoman said the organization investigates each complaint it receives, including the ones described by Ms. Kim.

Some of Mr. Hockenberry’s former female colleagues told Ms. Kim that they had been the recipients of unwanted kissing, touching and sexualized comments. Three minority women who were his co-hosts complained to WNYC after feeling undermined by him, according to Ms. Kim.

One co-host declined to comment to Ms. Kim, citing a nondisclosure agreement. Another, Farai Chideya, said Mr. Hockenberry urged her to lose weight and suggested she was a “diversity hire.” A third accused him of “sabotaging” her.

Ms. Kim also shared her own account, which began about a year after her December 2014 appearance on the show. Mr. Hockenberry asked to meet with her, she said, and then began issuing repeated suggestive messages by email, persisting even as she declined to respond.

He suggested that they “do a date” and “scheme some other way to get you back on the air,” she reported. One email arrived with the subject line “Need another dose of you.” He asked for her home address so he could send her letters.

In one email, which arrived on Ms. Kim’s birthday, he asked if he was “bugging you or creeping you out?” It was, she wrote, “as though he knew exactly how uncomfortable he was making me feel.”

Source link

About The Author

Related posts

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: