Metro Exec Apologizes for Racial Remark

By: E&P Staff Steve R. Nylund, president of the company that is selling a 49 percent stake of the free newspaper Metro Boston to The New York Times Co., apologized today for making a racial joke at a corporate function in Italy in April 2003.

The apology came in response to a story by Rory O'Connor reported yesterday at Details were confirmed by Metro International SA, which owns Metro USA Inc. and publishes 42 free newspapers around the world, including Metro Boston. The Times Co. has just agreed to buy a stake in Metro Boston for $16.5 million.

''The New York Times Co. and The Boston Globe have received reports of inappropriate comments on the part of Metro USA and are discussing these allegations with Metro USA's management," a statement by the Times Co. read. "The Times Co. is committed to fair treatment of all employees based on respect, accountability, and standards of excellence."

The joke, according to O'Connor, centered on the length of the sexual organs of black males, whom Nylund referred to as "niggers."

"The comment was made unintentionally during my translation," Nylund said in the company's news release. ''Nevertheless, I deeply regret having offended anyone, and I apologize."

Metro International also acknowledged that several months later (in another incident uncovered by a company executive used a racial epithet before an audience in Stockholm.


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