The NPR senior executive who stepped down Wednesday afternoon amid allegations of sexual harassment is the brother of prominent climate activist and academic Naomi Oreskes.
Michael Oreskes, a former New York Times reporter who was forced to step down from his executive role at NPR amid reports of sexual harassment, is the brother of die-hard environmentalist Naomi Oreskes. He admitted to wrongdoing in a trove of internal memos.
NPR placed Oreskes on “administrative leave” after The Washington Post reported Tuesday that he allegedly made unwanted sexual advances toward two journalists who were seeking employment at TheNYT 20 years ago. CEO Jarl Mohn stressed that the company was taking the allegations seriously.
“I’m writing to share that I’ve asked Vice President of News Programming and Operations Chris Turpin to take on interim leadership of the newsroom,” Mohn said. “Starting today, Chris will serve in the capacity of the Senior Vice President of News for NPR and oversee both strategic direction and day to day operations related to our journalism.”
One of his accusers, who is allegedly from a small town in the West, claims her encounter with Oreskes permanently damaged her confidence. “When I first went to see him, it was after screwing up my nerve to try to be bold and maneuver myself into a better job, and after what happened with him, I never really tried that again,” she said.
Oreskes, for his part, struck a remorseful tone in a press statement addressing the issue. “I am deeply sorry to the people I hurt,” he wrote. “My behavior was wrong and inexcusable, and I accept full responsibility.”
Naomi Oreskes, a professor of history at Harvard University, is known for co-authoring the 2010 book, “Merchants of Doubt,” which draws comparisons between climate change skeptics and tobacco companies that pushed back against scientists who argued cigarettes are a health hazard. The book claims spreading doubt and confusion was the basic strategy of those who oppose action on global warming.
She was most recently responsible for Harvard report in August accusing ExxonMobil of producing troves of research affirming the existence of global warming, while using advertorials to cast doubt on climate change. Researchers have since criticized the report for inappropriately compared Exxon-generated climate research with advertorials from another, separate, company.
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