The management of NPR was clearly aware of multiple complaints of inappropriate behavior by its former head but had not taken any action against him until he was forced to leave the organization last year.
An internal investigation that lasted eight weeks identified that the executives tried to counsel Senior Vice President Michael Oreskes after each incident. It was also found that Oreskes was sending inappropriate emails to young women and used to entertain them with dinners and drinks from his expenditure account, even after repeated reminders to stop this activity.
Until the issue went public, Oreskes was not removed by NPR, and they did not take any formal action against him. In spite of a definite conclusion in the investigation, the company’s chairman Paul Haaga Jr. said that he had complete confidence in the executive team headed by Jarl Mohn. He stated, “People make mistakes, and Jarl and his team are the first ones to admit they made a mistake.” While this was going on at the board level inside NPR, there was an outrage as soon as the news came out.
A senior journalist commented, “There is a sense of disappointment, immense frustration and deep anger. This report hasn’t helped bridge the huge distrust between staffers and senior management. How many times was Oreskes counseled or talked to? What has actually been learned?”
A hiring committee member of NPR had actually informed the human resource department about an alleged incident that involved Oreskes a few months ago. The allegations were around Oreskes leaving voice messages on a woman’s phone late at night asking her to visit another female in her hotel room around 11 pm.