'He grabbed my face and started kissing me': Several women accuse former NPR host John Hockenberry, 61, of sexual harassment

  • Hockenberry has been accused by several women, including ex-producers
  • Two of them say he grabbed and kissed them without them giving their consent
  • Hockenberry has not denied the claims, and has apologized for his behavior?

Former NPR host John Hockenberry has been accused of sexual harassment by several women, who say he kissed them without permission.

Hockenberry, 61, most recently hosted The Takeaway on WNYC, a job he quit in August. It's not clear whether his departure is linked to the claims by women he worked with there.

They told New York Magazine?that he embraced and kissed them without consent, and even professed love despite their obvious discomfort.?

Former public radio host John Hockenberry (pictured) has been accused of sexual harassment by several female former colleagues; he does not deny the claims

Former public radio host John Hockenberry (pictured) has been accused of sexual harassment by several female former colleagues; he does not deny the claims

Kristin Meinzer, a producer for Hockenberry in 2014, said he kissed her as thanks for organizing an interview with Oscar-winning actress Marion Cotillard for him.

'He rolled right up to me at my desk, grabbed my face and started kissing me,' she said of the host, who is wheelchair-bound.

'I moved my head away and pushed him away, and I said, "No, no, please don't."'

She said he told her: 'I just want to kiss you because I'm so thankful.'

Another producer said that around 2010-11 the crew were put up in a hotel after they became trapped by winter weather.

'John said, "Can we talk about something on the show?" So I went to his room, which might seem stupid now but didn't seem crazy then: We worked around the clock,' she said.

'He came up and put his arms on mine, and kissed me. Then he said, "I love you. We've always had this special thing." I pushed him away, and said "This cannot happen." I ran out of the room.'

Hockenberry, who is in a wheelchair, says his experiences with feeling powerless should have made him more empathetic toward his victims

Hockenberry, who is in a wheelchair, says his experiences with feeling powerless should have made him more empathetic toward his victims

Hockenberry has not denied any of the claims, and apologized in a statement he made through his publicist.

'Looking back, my behavior was not always appropriate and I'm sorry,' he said.?

'It horrifies me that I made the talented and driven people I worked with feel uncomfortable, and that the stress around putting together a great show was made worse by my behavior.'

He also said that his experiences as a disabled man - he was paralyzed below the waist after being hit by a car aged 19 - should have clued him in to how his victims felt.?

'Having to deal with my own physical limitations has given me an understanding of powerlessness, and I should have been more aware of how the power I wielded over others, coupled with inappropriate comments and communications, could be construed,' he said. 'I have no excuses.'

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