WNYC: Bring Back Leonard Lopate

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Leonard Lopate's brilliant 32-year career as a WNYC talk show host abruptly ended when he was fired on December 21, 2017.  According to WNYC president Laura Walker, Lopate violated “our standards for providing an inclusive, appropriate, and respectful work environment.”  

In an astonishing display of contempt for its listeners, station management has refused to disclose Lopate’s alleged misdeeds -- apparently even to Lopate himself. However, on the evidence that WNYC reporters uncovered through interviews with anonymous accusers, Lopate is guilty of nothing more than possibly having an edgy sense of humor from time to time, as well as an interest in etymology.  Moreover, serious questions have been raised about the fairness of the investigation. 

The Leonard Lopate Show was a cultural treasure, and it is beyond comprehension that thousands of listeners would be deprived of Lopate’s consummate talents on the meager evidence that has come to light.  It seems clear that something else is at work.

We call on New York Public Radio’s Board of Trustees to instruct station management to rehire Leonard Lopate and we call on the Board to conduct an investigation into the “investigation” that resulted in his dismissal.  We do not believe that station management can be trusted to investigate itself, to select its examiner, or even to assess what is a fireable offense. 

Many of us have suspended our donations to WNYC until this matter is resolved in a way that is fair to all, including the accused and his many thousands of devoted listeners.  We have not done this lightly.  We are all WNYC listeners who value and have trusted the station.  But we believe that station management has betrayed its listeners and our trust by removing from the airwaves, for no credible reason, a public radio gem.

(In addition to signing the petition, you can join the “WNYC: Bring Back Leonard Lopate” Facebook group.)