TIMES COMPANY, METRO RESPOND. Here is a statement from the New York Times Company and the Boston Globe regarding Rory O'Connor's article on MediaChannel.org about alleged racism and sexism at Metro International:
The New York Times Company and The Boston Globe have received reports of inappropriate comments on the part of Metro USA and are discussing these allegations with Metro USA's management. The Times Company is committed to fair treatment of all employees based on respect, accountability and standards of excellence.
And here is a statement from Ken Frydman, on behalf of Metro International:
On two occasions two years ago, officers of Metro International made public statements quoting other people who had made racially disparaging remarks. In neither case was the Metro employee expressing his own views and sentiments or those of Metro International.
In one case, a Metro officer, speaking at an internal conference, was asked to translate aloud into English a joke that had been handed to him by another Metro employee. As he concentrated on translating the joke to a foreign language, the Metro officer realized, to his dismay, that he had unintentionally made an offensive racial reference. The Metro officer, Steve Nylund, was rebuked by Metro's CEO for reading the joke and Mr. Nylund has since expressed his deep regret at having been led to make a comment that does not reflect his views and that he finds offensive. "The comment was made unintentionally during my translation," Nylund said. "Nevertheless, I deeply regret having offended anyone and I apologize."
The Metro employee who forwarded the offensive joke to Mr. Nylund is no longer with the company.
In the other case, a Metro officer, in a public attempt at self-deprecation, opened an internal meeting by citing an offensive salutation attributed to a German official. That salutation included a racially offensive word, which the officer awkwardly and inappropriately repeated by way of illustrating his contention that his countrymen were inept at public speaking. The Metro officer was reprimanded by a senior Metro officer and has expressed his regret at repeating a word he personally finds offensive.
While these isolated remarks do not in any way reflect the views of the company, Metro nevertheless apologizes for them. Neither incident should be viewed as a commentary on the commitment to diversity and tolerance of Metro International.
As to the false charges about the gender and racial makeup of Metro's workforce, Metro International categorically denies recently published allegations that a culture of racism and sexism exists at Metro. The company has a commitment to hiring and promoting without regard to race, religion, sex, or creed; employees who violate Metro's diversity policy are subject to severe penalties. Metro employs senior executives of many ethnicities and cultures as well as women in such senior positions as Publisher and Senior Vice President for Business Development. In addition, in The United States, Metro employs African-American, Asian-American and Hispanic employees in senior editorial and business positions, including Production Director and Marketing Director.
As the world's leading free daily newspaper group, Metro (www.metro.lu) publishes 42 newspaper editions in 16 languages that reach more than 14.5 million daily readers and 32 million weekly readers in 63 major cities throughout 17 countries covering Europe, North and South America and Asia.