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NPR Host Tom Ashbrook Fired, Accused of Creating ‘Abusive Work Environment’

Ashbrook had hosted nationally syndicated ”On Point“ show for 16 years

Tom Ashbrook, the longtime host of the nationally syndicated NPR show “On Point,” was fired by Boston-based WBUR on Wednesday following accusations of abusive workplace behavior, the station announced.

Ashbrook had been placed on leave in December after 11 current and former station employees filed complaints of bullying and sexual misconduct over a decade.

Boston University, which owns the station, said its two outside investigators found that Ashbrook’s conduct “created an abusive work environment,” but determined that his conduct “was not sexual in nature and did not constitute sexual harassment under the school’s Sexual Misconduct/Title IX policy.”

“I am deeply disappointed by this decision, which I believe is profoundly unfair both to me and the listeners who [have] been such a part of ‘On Point,'” Ashbrook said in a statement. “I’m sorry to those who found the show’s pace and me just too much. I’ve felt a terrible urgency about our country’s direction, and that urgency played out — maybe too stridently sometimes — in our workplace. We strove for excellence in really challenging times and sometimes colleagues’ feelings were hurt along the way. I regret that.”

Ashbrook’s lawyer, Laura Studen, called the firing unfair and cited “the University’s failure to appropriately address these management issues at the time,” according to a statement to WBUR. 

Ashbrook first began the syndicated “On Point” 16 years ago and it is carried on 290 stations nationwide, WBUR said it plans to continue using substitute hosts such as Jane Clayson, Tom Gjelten and Ray Suarez until it names a permanent replacement.