German press group Axel Springer said yesterday it had removed the chief editor at tabloid-style daily Bild, Julian Reichelt, over a relationship with a colleague at the country’s top-selling newspaper.
Reichelt “did not clearly separate his private and work lives and did not tell the board the truth about it,” Axel Springer said in a statement, citing information gained “as a result of press investigations in recent days”.
An internal investigation in spring looked into allegations the 41-year-old had promoted interns with whom he had had affairs and then sidelined or fired them.
Although Reichelt stepped aside during the inquiry, he was reinstated in March alongside a female editor.
“Julian Reichelt admitted to mixing professional and private relationships but denied the aforementioned accusations and swore to this under oath,” Springer said at the time.
It was not immediately clear which new allegations prompted the company to sack Reichelt, one of Germany’s most controversial media figures who tacked Bild hard to the right on some issues.
But a New York Times story published on Sunday appears to have pushed Springer into action.
In recent years, parent company Springer has expanded internationally, first with news site Business Insider and this summer buying all of US-based Politico.
The NYT reported that Reichelt had promoted a young woman journalist into a senior position following a relationship between them.
Reichelt said in 2016: “If they find out that I’m having an affair with a trainee, I’ll lose my job,” the NYT reported, citing testimony the woman gave Springer’s internal inquiry.
The editor’s chair at Bild will now go to Johannes Boie, until now editor-in-chief of Springer’s conservative weekly broadsheet Welt Am Sonntag.
Founded in 1952, Bild bet on a mixture of human-interest stories, sports and celebrity news to become Germany’s top-selling paper, and still prints two million copies per day.
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