People's Gold problem

Go figure: Two-plus years of L.A. Observed with no references to People magazine West Coast Bureau Chief Todd Gold, then two mentions in less than twenty-four hours. Here's the first, and the second comes today from the online gossip page of Radar magazine. Radar Online says staffers in the People bureau in Brentwood are upset that Gold still has a role in the office despite a sexual harassment complaint from a 29-year-old female reporter. She was transferred to another Time Inc. magazine after her lawyer alerted People management that Gold was making unwanted advances, according to Radar's source.

"Heíd started buying her all these gifts, including a big bottle of perfume, and brought her everywhere. He tagged along on a lot of her assignments, too," says the source. "He once insisted that she accompany him alone to an ad meeting in San Francisco, even though she didnít want to go. Sheís a very slight-figured woman, and the stress apparently made her start losing even more weight. It actually got to the point where her hair was falling out in clumps."

Confronted with the allegations, People management quickly seized the pairís office computers (which, we hear, contained "incriminating e-mails") but opted not to launch a full-fledged investigation, since "Gold has his hands in too many projects that they have high hopes for," another insider says. Instead, weíre told, they allowed the woman to transfer to another Time Inc. publication. Gold was put on indefinite "book leave," ostensibly to write a tell-all with Laci Petersonís mother, Sharon Rocha.

"He was asked to pack his bags," says the insider. "But heís still patched into morning meetings, and the L.A. staffers arenít happy about it. Itís nothing short of a mutiny. They hate this guy. Over and over again, heís used his position to advance his own agenda. There isnít one person in the office who likes him or wants him to come back."

Radar Online sought comment from Gold and the reporter without success. Gold is also an assistant managing editor of the magazine.

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