Free Press fires Pulitzer Prize winner over misconduct

- Stephen Henderson, the Pulitzer Prize-winning opinion editor of the Detroit Free Press has been fired for misconduct.

Henderson, a native Detroiter,  won journalism's top prize in 2014 for his very personal commentaries on Detroit's financial difficulties that led to the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history. He is also the host of Detroit Public Radio's morning show "Detroit Today" as well as "American Black Journal" and "MiWeek" on Detroit Public Television.

The Free Press staff was informed of the decision Friday morning - nine days after a local minister named Henderson among a few Detroit media figures he said acted inappropriately. The Rev. W.J. Rideout did not offer specifics regarding what Henderson may have done. The Free Press began investigating immediately after Rideout's news conference. 

In a statement on the newspaper's website, the Free Press said:  “Effective today, Stephen Henderson will no longer be employed by the Detroit Free Press. The decision was made after an internal investigation was conducted which uncovered credible allegations that Mr. Henderson’s behavior has been inconsistent with company values and standards.”

Free Press Editor Peter Bhatia was quoted on the newspaper's website as saying: “This is a devastatingly sad day for us at the Free Press. Stephen is a magnificent journalist and a treasured colleague who has done so much for Detroit."

Freep.com said Bhatia cited "incidents involving inappropriate behavior and comments directed at Free Press employees" that were "counter to company policies and practices." The freep.com story continued: "There were no accusations or evidence of sexual assault."

Bhatia was also quoted as saying "Out of respect for the privacy of the women involved and Stephen, we have no further details to share.”

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