The top editor for several major gossip publications has been accused of sexual misconduct by former employees.

Dylan Howard, currently the chief content officer of American Media Inc. which publishes the National Enquirer, RadarOnline, Star and Us Weekly, allegedly described his sexual partners openly at work, discussed the sex lives of female employees and forced women to watch or listen to pornographic material.

Former employees told The Associated Press about the incidents that occurred when Howard was running the company’s Los Angeles office.

According to Associated Press:

Howard’s self-proclaimed nickname was “Dildo,” a phallus-shaped sex toy, the former employees said. His conduct led to an internal inquiry in 2012 by an outside consultant, and former employees said he stopped working out of the L.A. office after the inquiry.

Howard quit soon after the report was completed. The company rehired him one year later with a promotion that landed him in the company’s main office in New York. It was not clear whether Howard faced any discipline over the accusations. The AP is not aware of any sexual harassment allegations involving Howard since he was rehired.

An outside investigator hired to look into the complaints confirmed that he completed a report and the AP spoke with 12 former employees who knew about the investigation.

Howard dismissed the accusations as  “baseless.”

American Media stood by the editor, issuing a statement Tuesday:

American Media, Inc. (AMI) takes any claims of workplace harassment very seriously. After a thorough review by a third-party investigator, AMI stands by the findings of that investigation. We welcomed Mr. Howard back to AMI in 2012, and since that time he has continued to have the respect of his peers and colleagues, and has been promoted to his current position as Chief Content Officer. In the wake of these baseless allegations, he has the full support of AMI and its executives.

“It was determined that there was some, what you would call as, horsing around outside the office, going to bars and things that are not uncommon in the media business,” an attorney for AMI, Cam Stracher said, “but none of it rose to the level of harassment that would require termination.”

While most of the former employees spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity, two of them – a senior manager and a reporter in the L.A. office – agreed to be identified.

“The behavior that Dylan displayed and the way he was and the way the company dealt with it — I just think that it has to be made public because it’s completely unacceptable,”  a former senior editor at RadarOnline, Maxine Page, said. Page had complained to the human resources department on behalf of two women reporters at the company.

Howard allegedly made inappropriate comments to her and six other former employees, suggesting creating “a Facebook account on behalf of the woman’s vagina,” as well as forcing the women to watch or listen to graphic sex recordings.

A former senior editor claimed Howard encouraged one ex-employee “to have sex with people for information.”

Liz Crokin, another former reporter alleging harassment, claimed Howard once asked whether she was “going to be walking the streets tonight” when she wore heels to work.

According to the AP:

For his 30th birthday party, Howard invited a dozen employees to Las Vegas in January 2012 for an all-expenses-paid, three-day party he dubbed “Dildo’s Dirty 30,” according to a copy of the professionally designed invitation obtained by the AP.

A week later, ex-employees said, the outside consultant hired to review the allegations against Howard began conducting interviews.

Howard had also reportedly worked with movie producer Harvey Weinstein, who watched his career and business collapse amid multiple allegations of sexual harassment and assault over a span of many years.

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Frieda Powers

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