MPR reporter quits over handling of sex misconduct reporting
ST. PAUL — An arts reporter at Minnesota Public Radio News announced her resignation Monday, accusing management of dragging their feet on a potential story about a male employee at a sister station accused of sexual misconduct.
“My editors have failed to move forward on the story” after months of reporting, Marianne Combs said in a resignation letter she posted on Twitter. She did not name the man facing the accusations.
“I gathered testimony from eight women who say that he sexually manipulated and psychologically abused them,” Combs said. “Their experiences span fifteen years and describe a man who preyed on younger, sexually inexperienced women.”
MPR President Duchesne Drew said in a Monday statement to The Associated Press the editors decided the story was not ready to run because it does not meet the company’s journalistic standards. Editors were surprised by Combs’ resignation and expected that she was continuing to work on the story, Drew said.
Combs said MPR News’ legal team cleared her story, but the editors refused to air it because of concern “that airing a story about his behavior would invite a lawsuit.”
Combs was named journalist of the year by the Society of Professional Journalists in June for her coverage of sexual abuse cases at Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis.
In 2018, MPR severed ties with Garrison Keillor, longtime host of “A Prairie Home Companion,” after he was accused of sexual harassment.