Tough questions

Mary Louise Kelly, NPR reporter who grilled her boss on sexual harassment, gets major promotion

Mary Louise Kelly. (Katarina Price)

Mary Louise Kelly, the NPR reporter who confronted her boss on the air about the company’s handling of sexual assault allegations against a prominent staffer, has been named as the new host of NPR’s flagship program.

Vogue reports that Kelly will take over for Robert Siegel as the host of All Things Considered. The promotion is particularly significant because it was Kelly who posed tough questions to Jarl Mohn, NPR’s CEO, after the company was rocked by sexual assault allegations Michael Oreskes, the former senior president of news. In late October, The Washington Post revealed that Oreskes had been accused of forcibly kissing two women while he worked at The New York Times. A current NPR employee later said that Oreskes had made her feel uncomfortable during a professional dinner.

In an eight-minute interview that was broadcast across the nation, Kelly pushed Mohn for specific details on what NPR executives knew about the allegations against Oreskes. At one point, Mohn said that there had been “rumors circulating around the building here about his behavior,” but “it took the published reports to have something surface.”

“Were you concerned that these accusations were creating a toxic environment in the newsroom?” Kelly later asked. “Should that not prompt action then?”

Kelly told Vogue that her promotion in the wake of this tense interview sends an important and positive message.“It certainly won’t be lost on anyone that the female journalist who went and questioned our CEO — a move that my mother was convinced would get me fired, grilling my boss on air — that they ended up promoting that person,” she said.

Read the full story at Vogue.

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