WXYZ-TV (Channel 7) has placed one of its news anchors on leave amid allegations of sexual harassment leveled by a Detroit pastor.
Station officials said Wednesday on the WXYZ website that they have put anchor Malcom Maddox on administrative leave and are investigating the allegations.
The announcement came about two hours after the Rev. W.J. Rideout III said a current WXYZ employee had accused Maddox of harassment. In a press conference broadcast live on WXYZ's Facebook page, he also accused the station of ignoring employee harassment complaints.
"They have covered up accusations against one of their very own main anchors and have done so for many years," Rideout said. "We're ashamed of Channel 7 for standing by and letting this continue to happen."
Rideout made the claims Wednesday during a news conference at his church, the All God’s People Church, on East Canfield near East Warren Avenue on Detroit's east side.
Maddox harassed the woman through phone calls, emails, text messages and showed her pictures, the pastor said. Numerous employees, he said, endured similar treatment.
He said the employee who made the claims has requested to remain anonymous.
Rideout said the employee complained to the station's management. He said the employee's schedule was adjusted so her work hours did not coincide with Maddox's.
In its 5 p.m. broadcast, the station issued a statement, saying it is actively investigating the allegations.
"Earlier today in a press conference by Reverend W.J. Rideout here in Detroit, allegations were made that WXYZ ignored sexual harassment complaints made by employees against Anchor Malcom Maddox," the station posted on its website.
"As we continue our investigation, Malcom Maddox has been placed on administrative leave. WXYZ is committed to providing a safe work environment for employees and takes all complaints and allegations very seriously."
Maddox could not be reached for comment by The Detroit News.
Rideout said the station knew about other claims against him "but did absolutely nothing about it."
Rideout said he couldn't say whether police reports related to the accusations had been filed. He claimed that the alleged victims retained lawyers and lawsuits were forthcoming.
During the news conference, Rideout also called upon other members of the media, including another at WXYZ, to "recognize the people you've hurt." However, he offered no specific allegations against them.
"I don't have to have the facts," Rideout said. "I'm reporting what was told to me. I'm not the judge. I'm not the jury. I'm just the person bringing forth what was said."