Last Thursday, Vox Media fired its editorial director and the co-founder of Eater, Lockhart Steele. The decision came after an investigation into allegations made by a former Vox Media employee that a Vox executive had kissed them in a cab against their will years ago. The investigation into other allegations from the employee is ongoing.
In a statement to the company, Vox Media CEO Jim Bankoff wrote that Steele "admitted engaging in conduct that is inconsistent with our core values and will not be tolerated at Vox Media."
That behavior is not part of our company culture, goes against our very mission, and will never be tolerated at Eater now or in the future.
For 13 years, Steele was a key part of the creative DNA at Eater and was responsible for much of its success. He was a mentor to and champion of male and female staffers here (myself included) for over a decade. Even after he shifted focus to the editorial oversight of all Vox Media publications in 2014, he provided valuable counsel to many on the Eater team.
But we cannot condone, accept, or downplay sexual harassment. Unwanted advances on anyone are unacceptable; they are even more reprehensible when the perpetrator is in a position of significant power.
Having an incident like this hit so close to home only heightens our mission to expose the widespread abuse in the restaurant industry that we cover. We remain committed to doing so, and to holding people in power accountable for their actions, in the hopes of fostering safe and sustainable work environments in the restaurant and food industries as a whole.