He was only nine months into his role as editor-in-chief at The Age, but Mark Forbes has been forced to resign after two of his female colleagues alleged they were sexually harassed by the veteran journalist.
The Australian reported on Friday that Forbes faced claims of groping a female journalist on the bottom at a work event in November, and that a second woman had come forward who alleged he had made unwanted sexual advances towards her.
Forbes admitted in an email to staff he was responsible for the events that led to him to quit, saying his position had become “untenable”, according to The Australian.
“The Age demands the highest standards of behaviour from our leaders, in the community, business and politics,” Forbes wrote.
“As EIC of The Age, I must uphold all the standards which we would expect in others. I acknowledge and accept that I have not done so. Whatever the circumstance, even a single lapse of judgment in upholding these standards should have serious consequences. I again apologise to the person concerned, and I apologise to all of you as, ultimately, I have let you down.”
Fairfax Media said in a statement that it accepted Forbes’ resignation, but did not apologise for his actions, The Australian reported.
“Mark felt that in this instance he had fallen short of the behaviour that The Age stands for,” Fairfax editorial director Sean Aylmer said.
Forbes was appointed editor-in-chief of The Age in April after replacing Andrew Holden as acting editor-in-chief in February. Prior to that, Forbes was news director at The Age for three years, and also worked as editor of The Sunday Age from 2009 to 2013.
Having started his career at Fairfax as a cadet in 1985, Forbes has held various other roles at the publisher over the past 31 years, and has also worked at Seven Network and the ABC.