On Monday, WBUR-FM, the Boston station that produces On Point, revealed details of the allegations contained in a document filed by the accusers and confirmed in multiple interviews by the station. Among the allegations — that Ashbrook engaged in “creepy” sex talks and gave unwanted hugs, neck and back rubs to 11 mostly young women and men who worked on the show. He also was alleged to have launched tirades at young women in the studio, along with name calling and delivering belittling critiques of show ideas during meetings.
WBUR and its owner Boston University announced last week that Ashbrook had been put on leave pending the investigation.
“Tom will be on leave from his duties at WBUR while an outside organization hired by Boston University examines these allegations, WBUR said in a statement. “We will decide a course of action after getting the results of this investigation.”
WBUR spokesperson Kristen Holgerson could not confirm Ashbrook was suspended, adding she could not comment beyond the statement that was released on Friday.
In a statement to WBUR News, Ashbrook said he is “stunned” that his colleagues came forward with allegations that have not been shared with him.
“In the pressure of a live radio environment, I have at times been a tough and demanding boss,” he said. “We aspire to put out a top-notch show. Many people have thrived in that environment; a few have not.”
Ashbrook went on to say he tries to be “fair-minded and courteous” with everyone.
Ashbrook has been host of On Point for 16 years. The show is carried by more than 290 NPR stations. The program is continuing with fill-in hosts in the coming weeks, Holgerson said.
The Ashbrook allegations follow resignations by Michael Oreskes, NPR’s former editorial director and senior vice president of news, who resigned in early November after being accused of sexual harassment by several female staffers. Another top NPR editor, David Sweeney, left later that month amid sexual misconduct allegations against him. And legendary A Prairie Home Companion host Garrison Keillor was fired over what Minnesota Public Radio called allegations of “inappropriate behavior.”