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Meduza Editor In Chief Resigns Amid Sexual Harassment Accusations


Ivan Kolpakov

Latvia-based Russian news website Meduza says its editor in chief, Ivan Kolpakov, has resigned amid accusations of sexual harassment.

Kolpakov announced he was stepping down on November 9, the website said.

"It is the only way to stop the crisis engulfing the website and minimize the damage to its reputation," Meduza quoted Kolpakov as saying.

Kolpakov's resignation comes after accusations of sexual harassment brought forward by the spouse of one of his colleagues.

In October, Kolpakov was suspended for two weeks after one his colleagues accused him of sexually harassing his wife at a party.

The colleague and his wife claimed that Kolpakov was drunk at the party and groped the colleague's wife, saying, "You are the only one here at this party I can harass and get away with it."

Kolpakov said he did not remember the incident but apologized to his colleague in person and to his colleague's wife in written form as she did not want to speak to him in person.

According to Meduza, the woman accepted Kolpakov’s apology.

The website's management then allowed Kolpakov to return to work from November 6.

The decision prompted the colleague who accused Kolpakov of harassing his wife to resign in protest.

Kolpakov is one of the founders of Meduza, which was established in 2014.

He has worked as editor in chief since 2016.

Meduza is run by a team of around 20 Russian journalists who resigned from their jobs at Lenta.ru following their editor in chief Galina Timchenko's unexpected removal from her post by the website's owner, tycoon Aleksandr Mamut, who is an ally of President Vladimir Putin.

Women in Russia and other former Soviet republics often say they are routinely the targets of harassment in the workplace but can do little to prevent it, with their protests often falling on deaf ears.

Earlier in March, when three female journalists accused a Russian lawmaker, Leonid Slutsky, of sexual harassment, the speaker of the Russian State Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin, suggested that female journalists who report from the legislature should change their jobs if they can't cope with the behavior of lawmakers.

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