Today, after more than 23 years at @MPRNews, I turned in my letter of resignation, effective immediately. Here’s what it said: (1/19)
I have spent the past two and a half months investigating allegations made about the conduct of a DJ at our sister station, @TheCurrent. In that time, I gathered testimony from eight women who say that he sexually manipulated and psychologically abused them. (2/19)
Their experiences span fifteen years and describe a man who preyed on younger, sexually inexperienced women. (3/19)
These women encountered him while he was working at other local radio stations; they are concerned that he is now using his status as a DJ at The Current to attract and further torment young women. (4/19)
I also interviewed the directors of a summer church camp who told this DJ he was no longer welcome to volunteer there because of his inappropriate behavior with teenage girls. (5/19)
I found out that in June he was fired from another job where he worked with children; that organization is now conducting an investigation into his time there. (6/19)
I wrote a story draft and my editors presented it to our legal counsel for review. The lawyer judged the story to be compelling and well-sourced, with strong supporting documentation. She saw no legal threat to MPR News for airing the story. (7/19)
Despite this, my editors have failed to move forward on the story. They have countered that the DJ’s actions were, for the most part, legal, and therefore don’t rise to the level of warranting news coverage. (8/19)
They described him as “a real creep,” but worried that airing a story about his behavior would invite a lawsuit. (9/19)
While the editors have not gone so far as to cancel the story, they have shown such a complete lack of leadership that I no longer have any confidence they will handle the story appropriately. (10/19)
It took two weeks to get them to even look at a second draft.
All this while the DJ remains employed at The Current. (11/19)
This is not the first time in the past year that our newsroom has gathered, and then neglected, women’s stories of abuse. For many of these women it took more than a decade to find the courage to speak up; when they eventually did, they put their trust in MPR News and me. (12/19)
In my mind, by dragging our feet and sending the implicit message that their cause is not an urgent one, we are as good as silencing them. I cannot accept this course of action. (13/19)
I’m resigning to show my continued support for these women. Their stories matter, their trauma is real, and the issues their experiences raise are relevant to all women, as well as all parents. (14/19)
MPR hosts – whether they are news anchors or music DJs – are public figures and communicate what our organization stands for. (15/19)
They must be held to a higher standard than simply obeying the law. And our newsroom must not flinch at turning a critical eye on our own company and staff. (16/19)
I cherish my more than 23 years with MPR News, and I continue to feel deep admiration for the many amazing people who work here. (17/19)
However, I am saddened that our newsroom has become so beleaguered -- both by staff cuts and an historically adversarial relationship with senior management --that it has been reduced to making editorial decisions from a place of fear. (18/19)
These times call for leadership, a moral compass and courage.
I sincerely hope that my resignation can serve as a catalyst for positive change and push the newsroom to do right by victims of abuse in the future. (19/19)

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