MeToo, Newsweek, Reuters, sexual harrassment, Dayan Candappa

How Many #MeToo’s Does It Take?

By Grace Lidia Suárez

Today @BuzzFeed News published a story entitled “A Top Reuters Editor Was Fired After Sexual Harassment Allegations. Then He Got An Even Better Job At Newsweek.”

It tells the story of one “Dayan Candappa [who] sexually harassed his subordinate for months. He was removed, and now oversees content at Newsweek Media Group.”

In short, if the complaint, made by a law firm on behalf of a client who so far remains anonymous, is true, Mr. Candappa was in effect rewarded for his behavior.

It was tweeted out by Miriam Elder:

Gah. A top editor at Reuters was fired after sexual harassment allegations only to go on to an even better job at Newsweek by @RossalynWarren

Roland Martin commented,

This is what I keep telling folks. If you don’t focus on the media execs who keep hiring sexual predators to bigger and better jobs, just getting rid of the person isn’t the problem. They are protected by higher ups. There MUST be changes in the executive suites. #MeToo

Buzzfeed reports that,

Reuters removed Dayan Candappa from his role as Americas editor after a senior reporter complained to Reuters management about his behavior on Feb. 2, 2016. One of the allegations, according to the complaint, which was seen by BuzzFeed News, was that Candappa promised to further his subordinate’s career at Reuters if she complied with his sexual demands.

The document, which was sent by a law firm, had the complainant’s name redacted. She remains an employee at Reuters.

The complainant didn’t respond when contacted by BuzzFeed News. Candappa didn’t return three emails requesting comment. A person who answered his home phone number on Monday hung up.

The article goes into great detail, and again, if true, describes egregious conduct on Candappa’s part.

After the employee complained, Reuters acted.

The complaint was filed to Reuters management and human resources on Feb. 2, 2016. After an investigation, a source familiar with the investigation said his last day was announced on Feb. 19.

That source told BuzzFeed News, “Reuters acted quickly to investigate and substantiate the complaint, and fired Candappa within days. They did the right thing and have done everything to help the victim get back to her career.”

Newsweek defended itself for hiring Candappa, saying,

Newsweek Media Group conducts rigorous pre-employment checks on its employees. These checks were completed when we hired Mr Candappa to the role of Global Editor-in Chief of The International Business Times in 2016. Our company has a zero tolerance policy for any form of harassment. We will treat any report seriously and if necessary take appropriate action,” Newsweek Media Group told BuzzFeed News in a statement.

It’s pretty clear to me that the charges are true, since it only took Reuters a couple of weeks to fire Candappa. So what kind of “rigorous” checks could Newsweek have conducted?

Should Candappa have been given a second chance? This person, who spoke to BuzzFeed, put it well.

One former senior colleague of Candappa’s says people should have second chances. But the person was unsure Candappa should have had a second chance in such a senior position, where the reasoning of leaving his old job wasn’t transparent and where there’s the potential to “repeat his behavior.”

That’s my take on it. A person who makes a serious mistake, evincing very poor judgment and a callous disregard for his fellow humans, may deserve a second chance. But not in a position where he is free to commit the same acts.

As tweep Peggy Michau said,

@MiriamElder @RossalynWarren Shades of the Catholic Church’s sexual predator shell game.

Yes, it does remind me of the Catholic Church’s musical chairs, which saw pedophile priests moved from post to post, enabling them to continue their predations.

Breaking: Erik Wemple tweets

Announcement from New York Times: Glenn Thrush will be back in the Washington bureau on Tuesday. His new beat will be the social safety net in Trump era, with accent on HUD and HHS.

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

[Editor’s note: Newsweek reports that Mr. Candappa has taken an immediate leave of absence following news of sexual harrassment report.]

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