Tom Ashbrook, the longtime host of NPR’s syndicated radio show On Point, has been fired by Boston station WBUR-FM. An internal review by Boston University, the station’s operator, confirmed claims made late last year that he had created an abusive work environment. Ashbrook, who has hosted the daily two-hour morning news and analysis program for 16 years, had been on leave since the allegations emerged in December.
The university said it had conducted two separate reviews after allegations were made by 11 former staffers claiming Ashbrook “created a work environment that included verbal assaults, intimidating actions, consistent bullying, and unwanted touching.” A second probe, conducted by a law firm, determined that the alleged unwelcome conduct was not sexual in nature, and was not sexual harassment under BU’s Title IX polices.
“We were struck by the common themes that appeared in both reports,” Gary Nicksa, BU senior vice president for operations, told the university’s BUToday.com. “On Point employees expressed enormous pride in the program and they recognized that along with everyone else, Mr. Ashbrook was under a great deal of pressure to make sure that the two-hour daily program was perfect. But the employees also described ways in which Mr. Ashbrook consistently overstepped reasonable lines and created a dysfunctional workplace in the process.”
Ashbrook responded in a statement on WBUR’s site, saying he was “deeply disappointed by this decision, which I believe is profoundly unfair both to me and the listeners who are been such a part of On Point.”
The show has more than 2 million listeners on more than 290 National Public Radio stations nationwide. WBUR said the staff will continue to produce the show with fill-in hosts.