LA Times Head Outed as Serial Sexual Harasser and Worse

FILE - In this Oct. 17, 2011 file photo, Ross Levinsohn, Yahoo Executive Vice President of Americas, speaks at the Web. 2.0 Summit in San Francisco. Scott Thompson, named CEO of Yahoo in January, reportedly will step down Sunday, May 13, 2012 amid controversy over mentions on his resume and in regulatory filings of a computer science degree he never received. Yahoo says it is appointing Levinsohn as interim CEO and Fred Amoroso as chairman of its board, effective immediately. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

The Los Angeles Times has been at the forefront of reporting about sexual harassment allegations against Hollywood celebrities and politicians (especially California politicians) since October, but its reporters could have looked a lot closer to home for a big scoop.


Ross Levinsohn, who has headed the paper since August, “has been a defendant in two sexual harassment lawsuits and that his conduct in work settings over the past two decades has been called into question repeatedly by female colleagues.”

NPR published details of Levinsohn’s questionable behavior and the two sexual harassment lawsuits Thursday, citing interviews with 26 former colleagues and associates and a review of court documents and financial filings as sources. Prior to publishing the story NPR emailed Levinsohn asking for comment on the allegations. He would not respond on the record, instead placing a call to NPR’s CEO, calling the “allegations ‘lies’ and [saying] he would retain legal counsel if he felt NPR had disparaged him.”

Among the allegations:

Levinsohn was sued in separate sexual harassment lawsuits as an executive at two different corporations. By his own sworn testimony, Levinsohn admitted to rating the relative “hotness” of his female colleagues in office banter as a vice president at a digital media company. He also testified that he speculated about whether a woman who worked for him there was a stripper on the side.

Two witnesses say they were shocked to see Levinsohn aggressively kissing and pressing himself against a woman at a glitzy music industry dinner in plain view of his subordinates and his clients. Levinsohn was married at the time.

Levinsohn once told an executive for the Hollywood Reporter he would not stay at the publication’s lunch honoring the entertainment business’ most influential fashion stylists because….”As my buddy said, why would I hang out with a bunch of ladies and fags?”


Such behavior is disgusting, no matter the target. It will be interesting, though, to see if outrage in the City of Angels is directed more at Levinsohn’s sexual harassment or homophobic comments?

Though Tronc, the Times’ parent company, described Levinsohn as “a visionary and innovative leader” upon his appointment as CEO, his track business track record isn’t stellar. He was an executive at Alta Vista before it folded, then moved to News Corp., where he encouraged Rupert Murdoch to purchase MySpace in 2005. Murdoch lost an enormous amount of money on that deal, later calling it “a huge mistake.”

At Yahoo, Levinsohn was successful in sales, but ultimately lost a bid to become CEO.  Marissa Mayer was named CEO instead.

During Levinsohn’s short tenure at the LA Times, he hasn’t been successful in building a fan base. He brought in a number of his “good ol’ boys club” pals and installed them in senior positions, including naming Lewis D’Vorkin, the former editor-in-chief at Forbes magazine who worked at the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and AOL, as editor-in-chief.

D’Vorkin and Levinsohn upset many reporters in the newsroom last fall by failing to defend the paper’s coverage publicly after meeting with Disney executives who condemned its stories documenting financial windfalls the company received from the City of Anaheim.

Levinsohn also wants to focus on entertainment stories and told investors Thursday morning he “anticipated the adoption of a related ‘contributor’ model for the Los Angeles Times and other Tronc properties: ‘The approach allows us to be less dependent on the newsroom transformation as we pursue other growth opportunities.'”


Additionally, the results of a unionization drive at the LA Times are scheduled to be announced Friday. NPR reports that six veteran LA Times journalists, who declined to be named, said the drive “has been propelled in part by related concerns over the commitment of the paper’s leadership to its journalism and its financial soundness.”

There are a lot of moving parts in this story, and it could very well be that this well-deserved “outing” was orchestrated by Levinsohn’s underlings as part of a coup.


Join the conversation as a VIP Member

Trending on RedState Videos