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New York Times reporter suspended in harassment probe

The New York Times building in New York, NY on Dec. 23, 2007. (Haxorjoe/Wikipedia/MGN)

The New York Times says it has suspended White House reporter Glenn Thrush while it investigates charges that he made unwanted advances on young women while he worked as a reporter at Politico and the Times.

Laura McGann, a Politico colleague of Thrush's, wrote on Vox on Monday that Thrush kissed her and placed his hand on her thigh one night in a bar, after urging another person who had been sitting with them to leave.

The Times, in a statement, said "the alleged behavior is very concerning" and not in keeping with the Times' standards. The newspaper said it supports Thrush's decision to enter a substance abuse program. Thrush didn't immediately return a message seeking comment, but told Vox that he apologized to any woman who felt uncomfortable in his presence.

Thrush worked at Politico from 2009 to 2016, when he joined the Times. His visibility is such that he was portrayed on "Saturday Night Live" during its skits earlier this year about White House news conferences.

McGann, who was an editor at Politico, said the incident happened five years ago at a Virginia bar that was a hangout for Politico employees. The incident made her angry, even more so when she said Thrush spread stories blaming her.

In his statement to Vox, Thrush described the encounter with McGann as "brief, consensual and ended by me." He said he didn't disparage her.

But he said he was "deeply sorry" for another event that happened last June involving another woman, not identified by Politico. In this case, the woman became upset when Thrush began kissing her on the street after they had been in a bar. Thrush said he hasn't had alcohol since the event, which he called "life changing."

Another woman in the story talks about a consensual drunken encounter with Thrush five years ago that left her rattled, and a fourth woman who was surprised by an unexpected kiss.

Thrush is also a contributor at MSNBC. The network said he has no scheduled appearances and it is awaiting the outcome of the Times' investigation.

A spokeswoman for the publisher Random House, where Thrush has a deal to co-write a book on the Trump presidency with Times colleague Maggie Haberman, said the company is looking at accusations "closely and seriously."

The Times' story this fall about sexual harassment involving Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein has unleashed a torrent of stories about sexual behavior. In the media, such stories have cost NBC News political analyst Mark Halperin and National Public Radio chief Michael Oreskes their jobs.

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Associated Press writer Hillel Italie contributed to this report.

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