Leon Wieseltier sacked from new magazine venture after sexual harassment revelations

JTA

Leon Wieseltier (Twitter)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Leon Wieseltier, the influential Jewish scholar and magazine editor, has been sacked from his latest venture following revelations of sexual harassment during his long tenure at the New Republic.

“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,” Wieseltier said in a statement first reported Tuesday by Politico. “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.”

The first issue of the magazine he was to launch within a month, Idea, appeared to be in completion, but its backer, Laurene Powell Jobs, decided to break up the magazine and shelve the issue after the revelations. Jobs is the widow of Apple founder Steve Jobs.

Tales of Wieseltier’s alleged harassment were circulating among women journalists who have been compiling information about harassers in the profession since the explosion of such stories earlier this month with revelations of decades of alleged sexual assault by movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.

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Chris Hughes, who owned the magazine for a short period earlier this decade, told Politico in a statement that that he had investigated a harassment complaint from a woman who worked for the management company at the building where The New Republic was housed. Wieseltier, who feuded with Hughes, led a walkout from the magazine in 2014, while Hughes was owner.

According to the New York Times, several women described unwanted kisses on the mouth from Wieseltier, and sexualized comments about their clothing, among other offenses.

Wieseltier, a member of the editorial board of the Jewish Review of Books, is a regular on the Jewish lecture circuit, speaking about Jewish belief systems.

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