The L.A. Times has placed noted sports columnist Arash Markazi on paid leave, as reported by VICE. The paper is investigating "potential ethical lapses" during Markazi's time as an employee for the company. Markazi joined the Times in January 2019.
The investigation began last week when members of the Times' sports department sent a letter to leadership accusing Markazi of multiple journalistic ethics violations and plagiarism. Per VICE:
"The investigation formally began last week after members of the newspaper’s sports department sent a letter to leadership stating that they were “angry and embarrassed about the repeated ethical breaches” by Markazi, which they claimed included “plagiarism, misrepresenting how his information for stories is obtained, and using his social media accounts to work as a de facto PR representative.” The signees wrote that Markazi’s actions have “negatively affected reporters’ relationships with the people, teams, and leagues that we cover, as well as our peers. During this time of deep newsroom reflection, we feel compelled to demand action in response to these transgressions,” the letter states. “At stake here is not only the integrity and credibility of the sports staff, but of the entire Los Angeles Times.”"
Markazi and Times leadership declined to comment on the active investigation.
On July 1, VICE published an article detailing the past two years at the Times which included accounts of Markazi's various transgressions, titled What Went Wrong at the Los Angeles Times. VICE reports the aforementioned letter was sent to Times executives days after that piece was published.