Journal backed by Laurene Powell Jobs felled by editor’s ‘past inappropriate workplace conduct’

Laurene Powell Jobs’ Emerson Collective has pulled the plug on a literary journal whose first issue was set to be published this month after the man at the helm, a former editor at the New Republic, acknowledged “past inappropriate workplace conduct.”

Former female employees of the New Republic began talking about Leon Wieselter, 65, after the sexual-harassment and assault allegations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein became public, Politico reports. Wieselter was investigated for sexual harassment in 2014, former New Republic editor Chris Hughes confirmed to Politico. In addition, Wieselter allegedly appears on an anonymous list that’s making the rounds, “Sh–ty Media Men.”

“The women with whom I worked are smart and good people,” Wieselter said in a statement, according to Politico. “I am ashamed to know that I made any of them feel demeaned and disrespected. I assure them that I will not waste this reckoning.”

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Emerson Collective told Politico in a statement that “the production and distribution of the journal has been ended.” It was called Idea, and was to be produced under the editorial guidance of Wieseltier.

Asked about how many employees were affected, a spokeswoman told SiliconBeat Wednesday that Emerson would have no further comment.

Wieselter’s statement included an apology to them: “I am profoundly sorry to my extraordinary collaborators at the journal we began together that the misdeeds of my past have made it impossible to go forward.”

Wieselter has also been suspended without pay by the Brookings Institution, the famous think tank, where he is a senior fellow.

Palo Alt0-based Emerson Collective, which Powell Jobs founded in 2004, is known for its work in education and immigration reform, and other social justice causes. It has varied media interests, too. In July it announced it bought a majority stake in the Atlantic magazine. Emerson also has media investments, including in news publications Axios, ProPublica, Mother Jones, California Sunday Magazine, the magazine Ozy and movie-production company Anonymous Content.

Powell Jobs, the widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, is a billionaire.

The publication of the Weinstein sexual-harassment and assault allegations have set off the latest round of allegations in many industries, but numerous such accusations and admissions in Silicon Valley and elsewhere in the tech world had preceded them. Most famously, one woman’s blog post about her experiences at San Francisco-based Uber contributed to the fall of its CEO, Travis Kalanick, although he remains on that company’s board.


Photo: Laurene Powell Jobs at Stanford in 2013. (Josie Lepe/Bay Area News Group)


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