The four-time Emmy winner and Peabody Awards recipient, who left his NPR show The Takeaway in August, is being accused in an article written by a one-time guest on his program. Author Suki Kim said after her 2014 appearance, Hockenberry sent “a series” of emails that made her uncomfortable, including one with a subject line, “Need another dose of you.”
In the wake of recent widespread media coverage of sexual harassments by prominent Hollywood and media figures, Kim asked former Hockenberry colleagues about any uncomfortable incidents.
One former colleague, Kristen Meinzer, told Kim that Hockenberry made “unwanted advances” and wrote “sexually-explicit notes” to her on social media. Others allegedly reported similar behavior, but declined to be named in the story.
Hockenberry, who is 61 years old and paralyzed from the waist down after an accident in 1976, issued a statement to New York, saying that he was horrified people felt uncomfortable.
“Looking back, my behavior was not always appropriate and I’m sorry. It horrifies me that I made the talented and driven people I worked with feel uncomfortable, and that the stress around putting together a great show was made worse by my behavior. Having to deal with my own physical limitations has given me an understanding of powerlessness, and I should have been more aware of how the power I wielded over others, coupled with inappropriate comments and communications, could be construed. I have no excuses.”
New York Public Radio CEO and President Laura Walker declined to comment for Kim’s story. A Twitter statement from The Takeaway said the show was disturbed by the report and takes the allegations very seriously.
Todd Zwillich, who took over the show from Hockenberry, had his own tweet on the matter:
In addition to his radio show, Hockenberry was a prolific writer and hosted several MSNBC television shows. He contributed to many magazines and newspapers, and wrote an autobiographical play and two books. His memoir, Moving Violations: War Zones, Wheelchairs, and Declarations of Independence was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.
He is also a moderator at many conferences, a Distinguished Fellow at the MIT Media Lab, and serves on the White House Fellows Committee. Hockenberry is also prominent in the disability rights movement.