LA Times owner Tronc investigating publisher and CEO Ross Levinsohn for misconduct

Tronc, the company that owns The Los Angeles Times newspaper, is investigating its publisher and CEO, Ross Levinsohn, following a report that uncovered two sexual harassment lawsuits in which he was a defendant. There have also been past complaints of inappropriate conduct toward women against him.

According to Tronc, it came to know of the allegations this week and launched an investigation.

"At Tronc, we expect all employees to act in a way that supports a culture of diversity and inclusion," the media company said in a statement. "We will take appropriate action to address any behavior that falls short of these expectations."

Tronc did not say whether Levinsohn would be placed on leave or suspended during the investigation.

Levinsohn, a long-time digital media executive was earlier at Yahoo and News Corp, has been publisher of the Tronc-owned newspaper since August.

According to National Public Radio, it reviewed court documents and interviewed more than two dozen former colleagues and associates.

The report states that in 2001, when Levinsohn was an executive with the search-engine company Alta Vista, he was a defendant in a sexual harassment and gender discrimination case.

He admitted under oath to ranking the "hotness" of female colleagues. He also admitted he discussed whether a female colleague worked as a stripper and speculating whether she had slept with a co-worker, NPR said.

''The portrait that repeatedly emerges is one of a frat-boy executive, catapulting ever higher, even as he creates corporate climates that alienated some of the people who worked for and with him,'' wrote NPR's media correspondent David Folkenflik.

Tronc came to know of the allegations of inappropriate behavior this week, Tronc chief executive Justin Dearborn said in a note to employees, the Los Angeles Times reported and which also featured a story about the investigation prominently on its website's home page.