The Boston Globe has announced that columnist Kevin Cullen has been suspended without pay following a review of statements he made after the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013.
Cullen came under fire in April when WEEI reported that he fabricated details, suggesting that he was at the scene on Boylston Street when the bombs went off. Following the report, the Globe placed Cullen on leave pending a review of his work. Friday, the newspaper announced he would be suspended for three months.
"Our review leads us to a conclusion that Mr. Cullen damaged his credibility," publisher John Henry and editor Brian McGrory said in a statement on the Globe's website. "These were serious violations for any journalist and for the Globe, which relies on its journalists to adhere to the same high standards of ethics and accuracy when appearing on other platforms. Our review also leads us to believe that Mr. Cullen did not commit irrevocable damage."
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When Cullen returns, he will spend two months as a general assignment reporter before becoming a columnist again. For six months, he will not be allowed to partake in outside broadcast interviews. Any appearances he makes after that will also be scrutinized, the paper said.
The Globe said that Cullen took responsibility for his actions.
"I own what I did," Cullen wrote in a May email quoted in the statement from Henry and McGrory. "I accept responsibility for these shortcomings and I'm sorry that it has allowed some to attack the Globe itself."
Boston Newspaper Guild President Scott Steeves says the union will fight the suspension, according to the Globe.
"The Guild stands behind Kevin 110 percent, disagrees with the findings, and looks forward to defending him in arbitration," Steeves reportedly said.
In a column on April 14 describing how the city has healed since the attack that ultimately left five dead and more than 260 others injured, Cullen wrote, "I can smell Patriots Day, 2013. I can hear it. God, can I hear it, whenever multiple fire engines or ambulances are racing to the scene."
However, during a 2013 panel for the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, Cullen said he wasn't near the scene when the bombing occurred.
WEEI's report also claims that Cullen fabricated other accounts of the bombing and its immediate aftermath to the BBC.
According to his Globe bio, Cullen, 58, was part of the team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2003 for its coverage of the Catholic church sexual abuse scandal and part of the team that won the Pulitzer for breaking news in 2014 for its coverage of the marathon bombings. He is the co-author of the New York Times bestseller "Whitey Bulger," and was named best columnist by the American Society of Newspaper Editors in 2014.