The New York Times has suspended its prominent political reporter Glenn Thrush pending an investigation into accusations of sexually inappropriate behavior.
The move comes after Vox published a story Monday morning chronicling the allegations of multiple women who accuse Thrush of making unwanted advances that included kissing and groping.
Vox political editor Laura McGann, who wrote the piece, said she experienced unwanted advances from Thrush firsthand at a bar five years ago when the two were colleagues at Politico.
"He slid into my side of the booth, blocking me in. I was wearing a skirt, and he put his hand on my thigh. He started kissing me. I pulled myself together and got out of there, shoving him on my way out," McGann wrote. "In the morning, Thrush sent me an apologetic email … He said he was sorry, but he didn't say for what, exactly.
In a statement, Thrush said his memory of the incident was very different from McGann's, adding that he thought the encounter was "consensual, brief, and ended by me."
Nevertheless, Thrush did offer an apology to any woman who "felt uncomfortable" in his presence and owned up his bad behavior in part to a drinking problem.
"Over the past several years, I have responded to a succession of personal and health crises by drinking heavily. During that period, I have done things that I am ashamed of, actions that have brought great hurt to my family and friends," Thrush wrote. "I have not taken a drink since June 15, 2017, have resumed counseling and will soon begin outpatient treatment for alcoholism. I am working hard to repair the damage I have done."
"The behavior attributed to Glenn in this Vox story is very concerning and not in keeping with the standards and values of the New York Times," a spokeswoman for the Times wrote in a statement. "We intend to fully investigate and while we do, Glenn will be suspended. We support his decision to enter a substance abuse program."
Thrush, who joined the Times in December 2016 after eight years at Politico, was one of six full-time reporters covering the White House and President Trump. He is also an MSNBC contributor, and the network told the Huffington Post's Michael Calderon that it was awaiting the outcome of the Times investigation before it takes any action. Thrush has no scheduled appearances on the network.
Thrush's byline and tense interactions with former White House press secretary Sean Spicer became so linked to Trump that he was featured several times on Saturday Night Live last season, played by former cast member Bobby Moynihan.
"My kids loved it," Thrush told Adweek. "It's had no impact on the way I do my job. It's been nice in terms of raising my profile, and it probably gets my phone calls answered a little bit more quickly,"