The Guardian's digital editor Ian Prior has been absent from work after female staff members reported harassment allegations to management, BuzzFeed News has learned.
Guardian sources say Prior – the UK news organisation's digital editor and former head of sport – is away from work while management investigate the allegations, made in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein revelations that have created shockwaves across Hollywood, the media industry, and politics.
When reached by BuzzFeed News over the phone on Friday, Prior was asked if he had been suspended pending an investigation.
"I prefer to not comment on anything at the moment," he said.
A Guardian spokesperson said: "We do not discuss specific personnel matters. We take any allegations relating to our staff seriously and have established procedures which we follow rigorously.”
According to sources, assistant editor Emily Wilson has taken on Prior's day-to-day duties while the investigation takes place.
BuzzFeed News understands there are allegations against at least two other male journalists who are also not at work while the claims are investigated.
However, a Guardian source denied that three male employees had been suspended while investigations were taking place.
On Friday morning, the Guardian's editor Katharine Viner sent an email to all staff, with the subject line "harassment and bullying", that said the Weinstein allegations had put a spotlight on workplaces.
"The revelations about sexual harassment in the entertainment industry have thrown the spotlight on harassment, bullying and dignity at work in all kinds of workplaces," Viner wrote in the email.
"This is long overdue.
"The kind of office culture I want for the Guardian is properly inclusive to all."
Viner went on to stress that there were "clear policies on harassment, bullying and discrimination and dignity at work", encouraging people to report any allegations to internal HR or the union.
The latest allegations against Guardian editors come after BuzzFeed News revealed earlier this year that a complaint had been filed against former deputy Guardian US editor Matt Sullivan.
He's alleged to have put his hand underneath a female employee's shirt, on her torso and abdomen, and in the back pockets of her jeans. It's an allegation the former Guardian editor denies.
Mark Di Stefano is a media and politics reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Mark Di Stefano at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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