Dylan Howard, a top editor at publications including US Weekly and The National Enquirer, is the latest powerful man in the media to be hit with sexual misconduct allegations.
Twelve former employees spoke exclusively to the Associated Press and shared disturbing descriptions of Howard's alleged behavior. The sexual misconduct, which allegedly occurred when Howard was in charge of American Media's Los Angeles office, included forcing women employees to watch pornography and openly discussing the sex lives of both himself and his employees. According to The Associated Press, Howard left the Los Angeles office in 2012 after an inquiry was launched. Howard was quickly hired to work at American Media's New York office, where he was promoted to Chief Content Officer.
Today the company responded to the allegations with a strong statement of support for Howard: "American Media, Inc. (AMI) takes any claims of workplace harassment very seriously. After a thorough review by a third-party investigator, AMI stands by the findings of that investigation," it reads. "We welcomed Mr. Howard back to AMI in 2012, and since that time he has continued to have the respect of his peers and colleagues, and has been promoted to his current position as Chief Content Officer. In the wake of these baseless allegations, he has the full support of AMI and its executives."
Although the majority of Howard's former employees spoke to The Associated Press anonymously due to nondisclosure agreements, a senior editor and a reporter allowed the outlet to identify them.
Maxine "Max" Page, a former senior editor at RadarOnline, told the outlet that she complained to human resources about Howard's behavior. "The behavior that Dylan displayed and the way he was and the way the company dealt with it — I just think that it has to be made public because it’s completely unacceptable," Page told the Associated Press, adding that his behavior included telling an employee that he wanted to create a Facebook page for her vagina.
Reporter Liz Cronkin told the outlet that when she wore heels to work, Howard asked her if she was "going to be walking the streets tonight." And an anonymous editor alleged that Howard encouraged women to have sex with sources in order to get information.
The employees say they were compelled to come forward about Howard after the Weinstein allegations emerged in October. As reported by the Associated Press and a newly released New York Times report, emails show that Howard aided and abetted Weinstein's efforts to smear the reputations of Weinstein's accusers.
And, in yet another twist that shows the web of complicity between alleged abusers, Terry Crews spoke out today and stated that Howard "threatened [him] with the false prostitute story" the day after the actor appeared on Good Morning America and named agent Adam Venit as the man who allegedly sexually assaulted him.
Over the past several months, an increasing number of companies have begun to take a strong stand against alleged abusers — so American Media's unwavering support of Howard is surprising given the new landscape that finally gives alleged victims the benefit of the doubt.