BOSTON — A former host of one of National Public Radio’s most successful programs who was fired over allegations of workplace abuse apologized on Tuesday and asked for a second chance, saying he wants to “make Boston proud again.”
“On Point” host Tom Ashbrook was dismissed by Boston radio station WBUR in February after investigators found he created an “abusive work environment,” but he was cleared of allegations of sexual misconduct.
Ashbrook said in a piece published by The Boston Globe that he initially was defensive when told he had to go but has come to realize his behavior was “offensive and overbearing to some.” He said he is sorry and has learned from his mistakes.
“Is there room for redemption and rebirth, in our time of Google trails and hashtag headlines? I hope so,” Ashbrook said. “The work that Boston and the country supported all these years is more important than ever. Is there a way back?”
Outside firms hired by WBUR owner Boston University to investigate Ashbrook said he didn’t violate sexual-misconduct policies but was abusive in other ways.
The station had received complaints from 11 men and women who previously worked on the show and accused Ashbrook of verbal abuse, bullying and unwanted touching. Employees said Ashbrook would call them names and berate them in meetings, among other things.
Ashbrook said the high ratings for “On Point,” a call-in show carried by more than 290 NPR stations, are “no excuse for inexcusable behavior.”
“Can we talk some more, Boston? I promise this time to listen as respectfully off the air as on,” Ashbrook said. “I want to make Boston proud again.”