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Lee Abrams out at Tribune Co.

Exec exits after sending email with link to sexual vid

Amid a scandal over exec behavior at Tribune Co., Lee Abrams has resigned his post as the company’s chief innovation officer.

Abrams’ exit comes as no surprise, as it follows his suspension without pay on Wednesday for sending a widely distribbed company email that include a link to a sexually suggestive video.

The incident with Abrams also comes just days after the New York Times ran a lengthy story detailing what it described as a frat house environment at the Chicago-based media giant, including details of questionable behavior from top company execs including CEO Randy Michaels.

Michaels announced Abrams’ resignation on Friday.

“Today, Lee offered his resignation and I accepted it,” Michaels said in a memo distribbed to Tribune employees.

When Abrams, a former radio exec, arrived at Tribune in 2008, he drew notice for stream-of-consciousness emails that took aim at the company’s culture and were designed to trigger ideas among the newsroom and broadcast staffs, trying to apply what he learned in the often in-your-face world of the radio business to journalism. But an email he sent out earlier this week had links to satirical videos, including one labeled “sluts,” in which a gyrating woman appears to pour liquor on her bare breasts. News of the email was first reported by Chicago Breaking Business.

Abrams apologized for the email Tuesday and said it was shown as an example “of what not to do” but was part of the process of coming up with ideas for a morning TV program.

Ted Johnson contributed to this report.

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