November 29, 2021

Axel Springer Removes Julian Reichelt After Times Report

Despite the apparent threat, Deirdre Latour, a company spokeswoman, said that “they will not go after whistle-blowers or anybody who brings forward complaints.”

Mr. Reichelt took a leave of absence in March after Der Spiegel, a German newsmagazine, reported that Axel Springer was investigating allegations of abuse of power and complaints that he had relationships with female employees.

Twelve days later, he returned after the investigation, conducted with help from the Freshfields law firm, concluded that Mr. Reichelt had mixed his personal and professional lives but had not broken any laws. The investigation found no evidence of sexual harassment or coercion, Axel Springer said at the time.

Mr. Reichelt “made mistakes,” Mr. Döpfner, the chief executive, said in a statement in March. “However, having assessed everything that was revealed as part of the investigation process, we consider a parting of the ways to be inappropriate.”

Mr. Reichelt was reinstated with a co-editor in chief, Alexandra Würzbach, the editor of Bild’s Sunday edition, who had taken over his duties in his absence.

In explaining its decision on Monday to remove Mr. Reichelt as editor, the publisher cited “revelations” about his behavior that had “come to light in recent days, following media reports.”

Pressure built in Germany after Ippen Media, which publishes a group of websites as well as a print competitor to Bild in Munich, decided on Friday to pull its own in-depth investigation into Mr. Reichelt. That revelation, in The Times and then in a letter from Ippen’s own investigative team, outraged reporters in Berlin, leading one to ask Chancellor Merkel’s spokesman at a news conference on Monday whether that decision had raised concerns in the German government that freedom of the press could be in danger. Ms. Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, declined to comment.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/18/business/media/julian-reichelt-axel-springer.html

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