Friday, December 2

Former NY Post Publisher Sues News Corp and Col Allan, Alleging Sexual Harassment | news corporation


Former New York Post senior reporter Michelle Gotthelf has launched legal action accusing the tabloid’s editor-in-chief, Col Allan, of sexually harassing and verbally abusing her, including proposing to her for sex.

In a complaint filed Tuesday in the US federal court system, Gotthelf accused the Post’s owner, News Corp, Allan and the paper’s current editor-in-chief, Keith Poole, of violating New York labor law by discriminating against her. based on her gender and retaliate against her when she complained.

He also claimed that Allan intervened in the coverage of Donald Trump, demanding that a story about the then-president accused of rape be removed from the newspaper’s website and calling the allegation “baseless bullshit.”

Allan is an Australian who was previously editor-in-chief of the Daily Telegraph in Sydney, while Poole is an Englishman who held senior positions at the Sun and the Daily Mail.

Gotthelf said Poole fired her last week, ending her 20-year career at News Corp.

She said she suffered “severe mental anguish and emotional distress, including but not limited to humiliation, embarrassment, stress and anxiety,” and is seeking damages from News Corp, Allan and Poole.

In her lawsuit, filed in the district court for the Southern District of New York, she made allegations of misconduct against Allan dating back to 2007, when she alleged that she was not promoted from subway deputy director to subway editor in 2007 because Allan said that “I wanted a strong man at work.”

Allan “instead promoted a substantially less qualified man” who “had little or no experience in non-business news and no experience managing a newsroom,” says Gotthelf.

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She said that since 2013 Allan had created a hostile work environment for her despite describing her as a “star”.

“Mr. Allan loved to demean Mrs. Gotthelf, and women in general, in front of his mostly male peers,” he alleged in the complaint.

“For example, Mr. Allan referred to women in the news as ‘sluts’ or ‘stupid women.’ He described an editor at the NY Post as a “cunning lesbian.” He also told Mrs. Gotthelf that Mr. Murdoch “doesn’t like a lot of women”.

She alleged that Allan also “despised the LGBTQ+ community.”

“For example, he refused to put New York’s historic legalization of same-sex marriage on the front page and asked, ‘What will these people marry next, animals?'”

She claimed that when she complained to her boss, he “acknowledged the abuse but shrugged it off, ‘I can’t do much.'”

The sexual harassment allegedly peaked in 2015 when she alleged that Allan proposed to her for sex, saying, “We should sleep together.”

Her rejection allegedly resulted in Allan becoming more abusive, refusing to make eye contact with her and throwing away her items for no apparent reason.

“On one occasion, he tore up a list of stories that Ms. Gotthelf had prepared and yelled at her to fuck off,” according to her complaint.

She said she complained to Human Resources, which she says resulted in Allan being forced to “retire” from the newspaper after being told about the complaint, despite the company’s promise that he would stay. confidential.

In early 2019, Allan was rehired as a newsroom consultant.

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Gotthelf said he negotiated a new employment contract in which the News promised he would not have to report to Allan, but said that turned out to be a “hollow” promise.

“Mr. Allan was not only giving instructions to Ms. Gotthelf, but he was also becoming more threatening and abusive,” she alleged.

He allegedly ordered her to remove a June 2019 story in which a woman accused Donald Trump of raping her, calling the woman’s claims “baseless bullshit” and describing her as “the world.”[’s] most unfortunate woman or liar”.

He said he complained to News Corp CEO Robert Thomson and human resources chief Dana Ritzcovan and was told that if Allan “tells you to do something, you do it.”

She claimed that she was effectively demoted in January when Poole was appointed editor-in-chief and her reporting direct line with the editor was removed.

Before the appointment he met Poole for lunch. Poole allegedly did not discuss his impending contract renewal, instead focusing on asking what “happened between you and Col,” he alleges.

“Ms. Gotthelf explained that Mr. Allan had made sexual advances to her and that she did not want to go through that again,” she alleges in the complaint.

“On January 12, 2022, just two months later, Mr. Poole fired Ms. Gotthelf without cause.”

Gotthelf’s departure was announced to staff in an email sent Tuesday.

“I wanted to inform you that Michelle Gotthelf has left The Post as of January 15,” Poole said in the email, which a News Corp spokesperson provided to Guardian Australia on Wednesday.

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“I want to take this opportunity to thank him for all he has done during his more than 20-year tenure here, and I hope you will join me in wishing him well for the future.”

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In a separate statement, the News Corp spokesperson said: “Any suggestion of wrongdoing related to the management changes announced today is baseless.”

He said Poole had no additional comment to make and had no contact information for Allan. Guardian Australia has been unable to reach Allan for comment.

The defendants have not yet presented a defense.


www.theguardian.com

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