LA Times Food Editor Peter Meehan Resigns After Sexual Harassment Accusations
Peter Meehan has resigned from his role as food editor of the Los Angeles Times after being accused on social media of creating a hostile work environment.
Many people within the Southern California food scene were also outraged to learn that Meehan had never moved to Los Angeles from New York after he landed the food editor gig in 2018, a job that, according to a statement posted on Twitter by Tammie Teclemariam, earned him $300,000 per year. The fact that Meehan had largely been doing his job remotely was not widely known, even to many L.A. Times employees outside of the Food section.
On Monday, New York-based food writer Teclemariam began sharing allegations from staffers at the L.A. Times and Lucky Peach, the magazine Meehan co-founded with chef David Chang. Among other things, they allege that Meehan had verbally abused staff members and sexually harassed some female employees.
In a statement Meehan posted today on Twitter, he said, "Tweets on Monday alleged a number of things I don’t think are true, but they also compelled my staff to speak out. In my tunnel-vision commitment to making the best thing we could, I lost sight of people and their feelings. That is a terrible failing on my part... I wish I had seen myself how others did and changed my ways, but this moment is about that: changing, challenging, and making things better."
At the time Meehan got the job, the L.A. Times made more than one reference to restaurant critic Jonathan Gold, who passed away in 2018 and with whom Meehan had become friends. The paper had said Meehan would divide his time between coasts and that he has family ties to Southern California.
In his statement, Meehan did not address any of the ire, especially among Southern California food writers, about his general lack of knowledge about Los Angeles and its food scene, or about his choice not to relocate to Southern California when he landed the job.
For some L.A. Times staffers, that point was especially galling. When the paper relocated from downtown L.A. to El Segundo, many reporters asked to work from home but were denied or received pushback from their managers.