“The Age demands the highest standards of behaviour from our leaders, in the community, business and politics and as editor he should uphold the standards they expect in others,” he says in a statement.
“I acknowledge and accept that I have not done so,” his statement says.
“Whatever the circumstance, even a single lapse of judgment in upholding these standards should have serious consequences.”
In the statement addressed to The Age staff, he supported the right of any employee who feels they have been “treated unfairly, disrespectfully, or harassed” to report it.
“This is, I hope, a reminder to all that our dealings with all women must be respectful and equitable at all times.”
Forbes was stood down pending the outcome of an investigation into a sexual harassment allegation, Fairfax said on Friday.
Opposition masthead The Australian on Friday reported it related to an alleged incident at an event linked to recent The Age Music Victoria Awards.
Forbes says in his statement today he is stepping down from his position as editor in chief, and leaving Fairfax Media.
The Age is one of Australia’s strongest journalistic institutions, has campaigned strongly for social justice, and been outspoken on the treatment of women, and harassment in any form, he says.
“Accordingly, I believe it is untenable to remain as EIC,” he says in his statement to staff.
“I again apologise to the person concerned, and I apologise to all of you as, ultimately, I have let you down.”
Fairfax Media editorial director Sean Aylmer said the company accepted Forbes’ decision.
“We acknowledge Mark’s extensive service to Fairfax spanning more than 30 years,” Aylmer said in a statement.
The Age editor Alex Lavelle will oversee the newsroom.
Forbes was appointed editor-in-chief in April after serving as The Sunday Age and Fairfax’s correspondent in Indonesia.
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