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WNYC's Leonard Lopate, Jonathan Schwartz Suspended On Conduct Accusations

NEW YORK (CBSNews/AP) — Two longtime hosts at a New York City public radio station were suspended Wednesday while the station investigates unspecified accusations of inappropriate conduct.

New York Public Radio CEO Laura Walker announced the suspensions of WNYC's Leonard Lopate and Jonathan Schwartz.

She said the company wants to ensure a "harassment-free workplace," but didn't give details of the accusations.

Lopate told The New York Times he was "baffled" by the suspension.

"It makes no sense to me," he said. "I am sure any honest investigation will completely clear me. That's the only thing I'm concerned about — the damage to my reputation."

Lopate added that he has "never done anything inappropriate on any level."

WNYC reporter Ilya Marritz said on the air that he had spoken with women who made complaints about both Lopate and Schwartz.

The move follows reports of harassment by retired WNYC host John Hockenberry.

An article by Suki Kim published Friday on New York magazine's website described accusations of harassment and bullying lodged against Hockenberry by several women. Hockenberry apologized in a statement to Kim, saying he should have been more aware of how the power he wielded over others could be construed.

Other figures in public radio who have been forced out over allegations of sexual misconduct include National Public Radio news chief Michael Oreskes, who resigned Nov. 1 following allegations that he had kissed two women who were seeking jobs when he was with the Times. Oreskes was a former vice president and senior managing editor at The Associated Press. The AP had one complaint of "unwelcome and inappropriate verbal communication" while he was at the news organization.

At the end of November, Minnesota Public Radio fired former host of "A Prairie Home Companion" host Garrison Keillor.

Elsewhere in media, other prominent figures recently out from their positions due following sexual misconduct allegations include NBC's Matt Lauer and Mark Halperin, Charlie Rose at CBS News, and former Fox News prime-time host Bill O'Reilly. The New York Times suspended White House correspondent Glenn Thrush last month.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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