Conway, AK-Marc Smirnoff, the editor for Oxford American magazine has been fired following allegations that he sexually harassed female staff.
Things came to a head following a July 4th retreat with staff and interns where Smirnoff is accused of berating young staffers while playing a drinking game. At that same retreat, Smirnoff lashed out at a 19 year-old intern. He then asked her to accompany him home and go to his favorite “make-out” spot.
On July 15th, the magazine’s Board of Directors fired Smirnoff after an investigation revealed that he created a hostile work environment rife with sexual harassment. Staff told investigators that Smirnoff would call female employees “baby,” made lewd comments and touched them inappropriately.
Smirnoff vehemently denies the allegations saying that he would hug, pat, and kiss female staff of the heads which he described as “paternalistic and nonsexual.” He likened himself to the character Ricky Gervais played in The Office, stating, “I walk a fine line with my joking, my banter. I have made bad jokes. My intent with regard to that humor is just as important.”
Apparently the staff did not find Smirnoff’s joking funny. They did tolerate the behavior for some time until the retreat.
The Board of the Oxford American took the steps to stop the harassment unlike many employers who often allow this behavior to persist, making them vulnerable to a federal lawsuit.
Employees who are repeatedly subjected to harassment or discrimination at work they find that it takes the representation of a sexual harassment lawyer to stop the behavior if their employers fail to address the problem.