NY Public Radio Vows ‘to Do More’ After John Hockenberry Is Accused of Sexual Harassment

Former public radio host was accused of inappropriate behavior by a guest and several NYPR employees

Last Updated: December 4, 2017 @ 9:17 AM

New York Public Radio is vowing changes in its response to accusations of sexual harassment after author Suki Kim accused former NPR host John Hockenberry of sexually harassing her and several other women.

“As part of a long overdue national conversation, we are now challenging ourselves to do more to ensure that our New York Public Radio community can thrive and excel in an inclusive and diverse environment in which they are treated with respect,” NYPR said in a statement. “We have committed to providing more training for employees, including managers, hosts and other persons in authority, and more support for those who come forward. This may also mean more severe and immediate consequences for misconduct than was the norm in American workplaces a year ago.”

In an article for New York Magazine, Kim said that after appearing on Hockenberry’s show, “The Takeaway,” in 2014, the host sent her a series of emails that made her uncomfortable, including one with the subject line, “”Need another dose of you.” Kim reached out to employees at New York Public Radio, who told her that Hockenberry had also harassed them. One employee who went on the record, Kristen Meinzer, said Hockenberry sent her “sexually explicit notes” on social media.

Hockenberry stepped down as host of “The Takeaway” in June.

“The Takeaway” said in a separate statement that it was “very disturbed” by Kim’s account, and promised to report on the story “as we would any other ​and intend to bring you updates when we’re back on the air on Monday.” Todd Zwillich, who took over as host after Hockenberry resignation, echoed the statement in a tweet, saying he was “angry and sad” at the news and promised to stay on the story.

Hockenberry, who was paralyzed from the waist down after an accident in 1976, apologized in his own statement.

“It horrifies me that I made the talented and driven people I worked with feel uncomfortable, and that the stress around putting together a great show was made worse by my behavior,” he wrote. “Having to deal with my own physical limitations has given me an understanding of powerlessness, and I should have been more aware of how the power I wielded over others, coupled with inappropriate comments and communications, could be construed. I have no excuses.”