Wieseltier admits ‘offenses’ against female colleagues

New magazine by leading Jewish editor Leon Wieseltier scrapped after allegations

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October 25, 2017 14:38
1 minute read.
Leon Wieseltier

Leon Wieseltier. (photo credit: JILL KREMENTZ)

 
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Jewish publishing powerhouse Leon Wieseltier has admitted to a range of “offenses” against his female colleagues, and his upcoming media project has been killed as a consequence.

Wieseltier, who served for more than 30 years as the literary editor of The New Republic, released a statement on Tuesday expressing shame for his past conduct.

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“For my offenses against some of my colleagues in the past I offer a shaken apology and ask for their forgiveness,” Wieseltier said in a statement. “The women with whom I worked are smart and good people. I am ashamed to know that I made any of them feel demeaned and disrespected. I assure them that I will not waste this reckoning.”

After leaving the New Republic in 2014 over an internal squabble, Wieseltier joined The Atlantic monthly as a contributing editor and critic. He was working on a new venture, called Idea, which was supposed to launch next week. The magazine was bankrolled by the Emerson Collective, headed by philanthropist Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Steve Jobs.

The organization said it was severing ties with Wieseltier as a result of the scandal.

“Upon receiving information related to past inappropriate workplace conduct, Emerson Collective ended its business relationship with Leon Wieseltier, including a journal planned for publication under his editorial direction,” Politico reported the organization as saying.

“The production and distribution of the journal has been ended.”

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The organization declined to comment further.

In its reporting on the scandal, Atlantic quoted its editor in chief, Jeffrey Goldberg, as saying on Tuesday night that he was not sure of Wieseltier’s future with the magazine.

“This news just broke,” Goldberg said in the article. “We’ll turn to this masthead question as soon as we reasonably can.”

According to The New York Times, several female former employees of The New Republic had been exchanging emails over the past week about their accounts of Wieseltier’s behavior.

The stories reportedly included unwanted kissing, public discussion of his sex life, comments on women’s looks and wardrobe choices and probing personal questions.

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