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Jonathan Schwartz, Leonard Lopate fired by New York Public Radio for inappropriate conduct

Two separate outside investigations found that both men’s actions directly violated NYPR’s standards.

Jonathan Schwartz, left, in 2004, and Leonard Lopate,

Jonathan Schwartz, left, in 2004, and Leonard Lopate, in 2015. Photo Credit: Composite photo; Newsday/Viorel Florescu, left, and Getty Images / Mark Sagliocco

Longtime WNYC radio hosts Leonard Lopate and Jonathan Schwartz, who were each suspended Dec. 6 following unspecified conduct allegations against them, have formally been fired.

“New York Public Radio has terminated the employment of Leonard Lopate and Jonathan Schwartz following two separate investigations overseen by outside counsel,” a spokeswoman for the nonprofit organization behind WNYC and WQXR said in a statement Thursday. “These investigations found that each individual had violated our standards for providing an inclusive, appropriate, and respectful work environment. In each investigation, an outside investigator interviewed multiple witnesses as well as Lopate and Schwartz.”

The statement said the Lopate investigation followed “a previous substantiated investigation in February of this year of inappropriate remarks made by Lopate to staff. That previous investigation resulted in one-on-one anti-harassment training for him and a warning to Lopate that he was creating an uncomfortable work environment.”

The Schwartz investigation came after “multiple complaints of inappropriate behavior received earlier this month and followed previous complaints, including as recently as November of this year, that were investigated and substantiated by New York Public Radio and resulted in disciplinary action at those times.”

Lopate, a more than 30-year veteran of the station, hosted “The Leonard Lopate Show,” a cultural and public-affairs series airing weekdays at noon. Schwartz hosted “The Jonathan Channel,” an online music program at WNYC.org that specialized in the Great American Songbook.

Lopate’s Twitter and Facebook accounts have been taken down, as were the social-media accounts for “The Jonathan Channel.”

“We recognize that Leonard Lopate and Jonathan Schwartz have made many contributions to New York Public Radio and we are deeply saddened to have to take these steps,” the statement concluded. “But our higher commitment continues to be to ensure an inclusive and respectful environment for our staff, guests and listeners.”

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