Lee Abrams Suspended By Tribune For Racy E-mail
October 13, 2010 at 12:26 PM (PT)
In the wake of a company-wide memo sent to employees by TRIBUNE CO. by Chief Innovation Officer LEE ABRAMS (NET NEWS 10/12), the company has placed ABRAMS on indefinite suspension without pay, pending review.
"LEE recognizes that the video was in extremely bad taste and that it offended employees," TRIBUNE CO. CEO RANDY MICHAELS said in the memo announcing the suspension. "(ABRAMS) has also apologized publicly. He reiterated those feelings again to me privately today. But, this is the kind of serious mistake that can’t be tolerated; we intend to address it promptly and forcefully."
ABRAMS may still face additional disciplinary action, MICHAELS said.
Abrams Had Apologized
Earlier TODAY, PHIL ROSENTHAL at THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE writes that ABRAMS "apologized to everyone 'who was offended' in another companywide e-mail TUESDAY. ABRAMS conceded 'poor judgment' on his part after the memo spurred complaints to the company's Human Resources department from CHICAGO TRIBUNE Editor GEROULD KERN and other employees upset at the sexual content. 'I thought it was offensive and I thought it was completely inappropriate to be sent out in a workplace setting to everyone in this company,' KERN said. 'We've had some employees complain as well, and I took it to HR.'"
Referring to a video distributed by e-mail, ABRAMS wrote, "The video in bad taste was a parody of a cable-type reality show. It is not something that we would ever air on our TV stations -- in fact, quite the opposite -- we show this as an example of what NOT to do. But, still, I understand that it was very inappropriate to distribute a link to the video to a wider audience."
ABRAMS told the TRIBUNE he has asked TRIBUNE CO. to delete the e-mail from its servers and promised to make certain his future e-mails "contain nothing like this" again.
TRIBUNE CO.'s workplace atmosphere under MICHAELS was the subject of a critical piece by DAVID CARR in the NEW YORK TIMES last week (NET NEWS 10/6) that characterized the company as a "frat house" rife with "sexual innuendo, poisonous workplace banter and profane invective." MICHAELS disputed the article's content in a memo to the staff before the edition containing the story hit the newsstands last WEDNESDAY.