How’d you like to be HR director for this organization?
Just days after a national newspaper story hammered a communication conglomerate’s “frat house” culture, one of the firm’s top execs sent out a company-wide e-mail with links to sexually graphic videos.
Last week, the New York Times ran an unflattering profile of the Tribune Co., the Chicago-based media giant that owns the Chicago Tribune and other newspapers, TV stations and radio outlets.
The front-page story said Tribune “executives’ use of sexual innuendo, poisonous workplace banter and profane invective shocked and offended people throughout the company. Tribune Tower, the architectural symbol of the staid company, came to resemble a frat house, complete with poker parties, juke boxes and pervasive sex talk.”
Not family fare
That was last week. This week, Lee Abrams, who carries the title of Tribune Co. chief innovation officer, sent his weekly message to employees. The e-mail, purportedly designed to help employees break out of conventional ways of thinking about media, contained an attached video labeled “Sluts.”
In it, “a gyrating woman appeared to pour liquor on her bare breasts,” according to a story by Phil Rosenthal in the Chicago Tribune.
The e-mail also included links to newscast parodies from theonion.com.
One of those depicted the fictional crash of a busload of reality show contestants, “spilling more than 2,000 pounds of slut,” in the words of the faux TV anchor.
After complaints from Tribune Editor Gerould Kern and other employees, Abrams apologized for the offensive e-mail. He was later suspended.
Update: Abrams resigned. Although there were published reports that Tribune CEO Rand Michaels would either resign or be fired by the Tribune Co. board of directors, Michaels said there was no change in his employment status following a Tuesday board meeting.
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