He isn't denying it. Happened in the 1970s, but the "news" of his actions is just emerging now...
H. Brandt Ayers, former publisher and now chairman of the company that publishes The Anniston Star, spanked female employees in the 1970s, several former staffers claim.
The allegations come from female employees who said they were targeted and sexually abused by Ayers, now 82, while working in the paper's newsroom. One of the women, Veronica Pike Kennedy, told the Alabama Political Reportershe was working at the newspaper early one Saturday when Ayers approached her about an editorial he had written and then told her she was being a "bad girl" and he would "have to spank" her.
Kennedy said Ayers pulled her out of her chair, bent her over a desk and spanked her 18 times with a metal ruler. The incident was witnessed by another Star reporter who allegedly confirmed the account. Kennedy was 22 at the time of the alleged incident; Ayers was in his early 40s.
Several other female Star staffers reported similar contact with Ayers.
Ayers issued a statement through a Jan. 1 story published in The Star.
"As a very young man with more authority than judgment, I did some things I regret," Ayers said. "At my advanced age I wish I could relive those days again, knowing the seriousness of my position and with the accumulated judgment that goes with age."