The editorial director of a large digital media company has been fired for misconduct, after a former employee published a viral blog post implicating him in sexually aggressive behavior.
On Thursday, Vox Media reportedly announced in an internal statement that editorial director Lockhart Steele had been fired, effective immediately. The Awl obtained the statement sent to employees through the company’s Slack channel:
“Hi team, I am writing to let you know that earlier this evening Lockhart Steele was terminated effective immediately. Lock admitted engaging in conduct that is inconsistent with our core values and will not be tolerated at Vox Media.
Our investigation into issues raised by a former employee in a post on Medium continues. Anyone with information should contact our external investigation leads, [redacted].
Vox Media is committed to fostering a safe and welcoming community, and appreciates everyone who has been willing to speak up and share information during the course of this investigation.”
The firing after a woman believed to be a former Vox employee published a post on Medium detailing years of alleged sexual harassment and assault she endured in various work environments. The company and individuals were not identified, but Steele is likely the Vice President the woman accuses of forcibly kissing her neck during a car ride with other co-workers.
The Medium post alleges misconduct by multiple employees of the company, suggesting the possibility that more firings will follow.
Steele founded Curbed.com and Eater.com before selling them both to Vox Media. He was previously a managing editor at Gawker.
The firing comes weeks after a New York Times investigative report detailing numerous sexual harassment and assault allegations against Hollywood mega-producer Harvey Weinstein. The story had an explosive impact, and has prompted what feels like an unprecedented outpouring of harassment and abuse victims coming forward in multiple industries. Dozens of women have accused Weinstein of all manner of misconduct ranging from unwanted advances to rape. Two weeks ago, a list was briefly circulated within the media and publishing industries encouraging alleged victims to name their abusers.
The Awl‘s Sylvia Killingworth wrote the following in her story about Steele’s ousting:
The newest, wokest media conglomerates on the block are no more immune to the same kinds of abuses of power and workplace sexual harassment that we’ve been reading and writing op-eds about for the past two weeks since the Harvey Weinstein bubble burst than any other old company made out of women and men behaving badly. What a world!
Steele has not yet publicly commented on the allegations.
[Feature image: Vox Media]