Bad-Taste Memo Gets Top Exec Suspended From Chicago Tribune

Chief Innovation Officer Lee Abrams had apologized for emailing lewd videos — but that wasn’t enough

Last Updated: October 13, 2010 @ 2:28 PM

Despite his company-wide apology, the Tribune Company's chief innovation officer Lee Abrams has been suspended without pay until further notice for emailing lewd videos, CEO Randy Michaels said Wednesday.

As reported by TheWrap, just one week after a scathing New York Times article outlined the frat-boy culture existing among senior Tribune executives, company chief innovation officer Lee Abrams sent an NC-17 memo company-wide that included links to sexually suggestive online videos, including one called "Sluts" in which a gyrating woman pours liquor on her bare breasts.

Abrams said he was sorry on Tuesday, but that clearly wasn't enough. On Wednesday, LA Observed posted an email from Michaels to the staff, announcing Abrams' suspension:

"I want to let you know that today we made the decision to suspend Lee Abrams from his position as Tribune’s Chief Innovation Officer. He will remain on suspension indefinitely and without pay while we review the circumstances surrounding the email and video link he distributed on Monday. We’re in the process of determining further disciplinary action.

"Lee recognizes that the video was in extremely bad taste and that it offended employees — he 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.

"As I said last week, a creative culture must be built on a foundation of respect. Our culture is not about being offensive or hurtful. We encourage employees to speak up when they see or hear something that they find offensive, as a number of employees did with regard to this particular email. I can assure you, you will be heard."

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