The executive editor of the left-wing news and commentary site AlterNet, Don Hazen, has been placed on “indefinite leave” after five women accused him of sexual harassment.
Buzzfeed first received the news after reporters asked AlterNet’s parent organization about “accusations he inappropriately touched employees, sent lewd emails, and showed them explicit photographs,” according to their report.
Hazen denied the allegations in a statement: “I deny most of allegations as have been presented to me by Buzzfeed, and I believe others have been mischaracterized.”
A veteran member of liberal media, Hazen once served as publisher of Mother Jones magazine. AlterNet is dedicated to reporting on “the environment, human rights and civil liberties, social justice, media, and health care issues.”
The specific accusations, according to Buzzfeed, include “touching [women] inappropriately, discussing their sex lives, making unwanted advances, sending explicit emails, and showing them explicit photographs — including one of his naked, erect penis.”
When presented with these accusations, the board of the Independent Media Institute, a nonprofit which owns AlterNet, issued a statement saying it took the allegations “extremely seriously.”
“The Board of Directors of the Independent Media Institute takes these allegations extremely seriously,” the statement reads. “The organization has long been committed to maintaining a safe and equitable workplace. We have a grievance process outlined in the organization’s employee handbook; any complaints involving the executive director would go to the board chair, and no employee has initiated that process. We are now investigating the allegations in detail; in the meantime, executive director Don Hazen has been placed on indefinite leave, effective immediately.”
Hazen took some responsibility for his actions in an interview with Buzzfeed, saying he “lost track of some boundaries I needed to keep.”
AlterNet has long been considered a top outlet for liberal commentary, publishing columns and blogs by individuals like Noam Chomsky, Barbara Ehrenreich, and former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich.
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