Tribune Chief Innovation Officer Lee Abrams has
been suspended without pay after sending a racy email out to co-workers earlier
this week, reports Forbes.com.
Tribune has confirmed the
report. According to an internal memo from CEO
Randy Michaels, Abrams "will remain on suspension indefinitely and without
pay while we review the circumstances surrounding the email and video link he
distributed on Monday. We're in the process of determining further disciplinary
Poynter.org reported that Tribune employees
complained to HR after Abrams sent an email Monday that "contained links
to off-color satirical videos, including one he labeled ‘Sluts' in which a
gyrating woman appears to pour liquor on her bare breasts."
In his apology to the whole of the company
yesterday, Abrams explained the video as "a parody of a cable-type reality
show. It is not something that we would ever air on our TV stations -- in fact
quite the opposite -- we show this as an example of what NOT to do."
Michaels said in the memo that Lee "recognizes
that the video was in extremely bad taste and that it offended employees,"
and that the exec apologized. Michaels reiterated that "a creative culture
must be built on a foundation of respect."
Michaels has promoted a jocular corporate culture
since he took the CEO spot at Tribune in December 2009.
But the timing of Abrams' alleged misstep could not
be much worse; the culture at Tribune was depicted as something akin to Animal
House in a front-page New York Times
story last week.