Powerful German Editor, Accused of Misconduct, Takes Leave

Powerful German Editor, Accused of Misconduct, Takes Leave
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Powerful German Editor, Accused of Misconduct, Takes Leave

Powerful German Editor, Accused of Misconduct, Takes Leave

The editor in chief of Bild, Europe’s largest newspaper and an influential pressure in German politics and society, has taken a depart of absence whereas a legislation agency conducts an investigation into accusations made in opposition to him, the publication’s proprietor stated.

Julian Reichelt, the editor, denies accusations of misconduct, Axel Springer, Bild’s writer, stated in an announcement. Springer stated it had no “clear proof” of misconduct, however had employed the legislation agency Freshfields to research the accusations. It didn’t specify what they have been.

The accusations have been first reported by the journal Spiegel, which cited half a dozen feminine workers who had labored for Bild and complained of coercion by Mr. Reichelt. Spiegel didn’t identify the feminine workers. The journal stated the ladies accused Mr. Reichelt of abusing his place of authority and making a hostile work atmosphere however didn’t present additional particulars.

“To guarantee that the investigation course of may be seen by way of to the tip undisturbed, and the editorial staff can work with out additional burdens,” Springer stated, Mr. Reichelt “has requested the Axel Springer board to launch him from his capabilities till the accusations have been clarified.”

Alexandra Würzbach, editor of Bild’s Sunday version, will take over Mr. Reichelt’s duties, Springer stated.

The #MeToo motion has hit Europe with a lot much less pressure than in america, and circumstances of highly effective males introduced down by accusations of misconduct in opposition to ladies have been comparatively uncommon.

Germany and most European international locations defend the identities of accused individuals in authorized proceedings, making it harder for the media to report about circumstances of harassment.

Courts have typically been unsympathetic. In 2019, a French court docket ordered the chief of the nation’s equal to the #MeToo motion to pay damages to a former tv government she had accused of making salacious and humiliating advances to her.

With a print circulation of 1.2 million, Bild is Europe’s largest newspaper, however like most publications has suffered steep declines in print readership. In 2011, each day print gross sales averaged 2.8 million, in accordance with the newspaper’s web site, and that was down from 4 million in 1965.

With its colourful graphics and emphasis on scandal, celebrities and sports activities, Bild — which implies “image” — is Germany’s populist each day newspaper. The readership skews male. Till 2012, Bild featured a photograph of a topless girl on the entrance web page every single day, and continues to publish pictures of semi-naked “Bild Ladies” on-line.

In contrast to Britain’s right-wing tabloids, Bild is comparatively nonpartisan, however however opinionated, with an aggressive tabloid fashion though it’s printed on a broadsheet format. As a result of of Bild’s attain it’s typically the publication that main political figures use to speak with voters, providing unique interviews or juicy leaks.

Mr. Reichelt, 40, a former struggle correspondent who grew to become editor in chief of Bild in 2017, additionally regularly wrote opinion items. He had recently railed in opposition to what he stated was the German authorities’s mismanagement of the pandemic disaster. He complained earlier this month that the authorities fined joggers for not sporting masks whereas federal and state governments bungled the rollout of vaccines.

Axel Springer, Bild’s dad or mum firm, is one of Europe’s most distinguished media corporations. Springer additionally owns Welt, a German each day newspaper; the net information web site Enterprise Insider; and Politico Europe. KKR, the personal fairness agency, owns 36 % of Springer shares and holds three seats on the corporate’s nine-person supervisory board. Friede Springer, widow of founder Axel Springer, stays a significant shareholder and a member of the board.

Springer stated in an announcement on Saturday that the investigation involving Mr. Reichelt would come with “an analysis of the credibility and integrity of all events concerned.”

The writer added: “Prejudgments based mostly on rumors are unacceptable for the Axel Springer company tradition.”

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