Former LA Times Beijing Bureau Chief Resigns Amid Sexual Misconduct Accusations

Jonathan Kaiman was suspended by the paper in May during investigation

Last Updated: September 20, 2018 @ 2:02 PM

Jonathan Kaiman, former L.A. Times Beijing Bureau chief, resigned from the paper on Tuesday, three months after he was suspended following a sexual misconduct accusation by another journalist.

“I can confirm that the Los Angeles Times completed its investigation into the matter and that Jonathan Kaiman resigned. At this time, we are not able to provide additional details on this personnel matter,” a spokesperson for the paper told TheWrap.

Felicia Sonmez, who was based in Beijing at the same time as Kaiman, said he groped her when they met in September and pressured her into a sexual encounter after heavy drinking. Sonmez, a veteran of The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, outlined the charge in a letter to the Foreign Correspondents Club of China.

Kaiman, who was suspended by the paper in May while it conducted an investigation into the accusation, had served as president of the Foreign Correspondents Club of China. He resigned from the club in January after a different woman came forward with a similar account of sexual misconduct.

That woman, Laura Tucker, explained her story in a Medium post in January, saying Kaiman pressured her into unwanted sex after a night of drinking at a Beijing nightclub in 2013.

“I was pressured into sex by an opportunistic friend. I explicitly voiced my lack of consent several times, and my words has no effect,” she wrote. “Jon did not listen to me, did not respect my wishes or my space, and wasn’t open to the evening ending any other way.”

Kaiman, who has disputed both women’s accusations, said in a statement on Tuesday that neither encounter involved “violence, threats, coercion, or violence in any way.”

He added, “They have irrevocably destroyed my reputation, my professional network, my nine year career in journalism, and any hope for a rewarding career in the future; they have branded me with a scarlet letter for life, and driven me to the brink of suicide.”