Days after a scathing front-page New York Times article characterized the Tribune Company’s management style under majority shareholder Sam Zell as a hostile, sexist frat house, Lee Abrams, the company’s chief innovation officer, thought he would lighten the mood with a little companywide e-mail. ChicagoBreakingNews reports that the communiqué, sent Monday, contained links to a video Abrams called “Sluts,” where “a gyrating woman appeared to pour liquor on her bare breasts” (a cinematic allusion to Leaving Las Vegas, no doubt). It also linked to news parodies from The Onion that Abrams deemed “pretty inspirational or at least interesting,” one of which described a fictional bus crash of reality-show stars as “spilling more than 2,000 pounds of slut” on the highway.
In his apology yesterday, Abrams said company staffers, who expressed the same frustrated disgust they did in the Times exposé, merely misunderstood. “It is not something that we would ever air on our TV stations — in fact quite the opposite — we show this as an example of what NOT to do,” he wrote. Someone should have told them it was Opposite Day.
Tribune Co. exec apologizes for ‘offensive’ memo [ChicagoBreakingNews]
Updated: The Tribune Company sent out a memo today indicating that Abrams will be suspended indefinitely without pay while the company explores disciplinary options. Oh boy, how will they innovate without him? The message came from Randy Michaels. To refresh your memory, the Times’ takedown began with an anecdote about how Michaels, the company’s top honco hand-picked by Zell, offered a waitress $100 to show the table her breasts. We would like to coin the term “glasshats” for people in glass offices who shouldn’t throw stones. [Forbes]