Time Warner Inc. chairman and CEO Dick Parsons announced that HBO chairman and CEO Chris Albrecht was today "granted, at his request, a leave of absence pending the resolution of the police incident that occurred Sunday in Las Vegas."
That incident has made headlines around the world: Albrecht was arrested by LVPD early Sunday morning on suspicion of assaulting his girlfriend following the Oscar De La Hoya-Floyd Mayweather Jr. championship boxing bout, which is expected to be HBO’s biggest pay-per-view event ever.
Police observed Albrecht allegedly assaulting an unidentified girlfriend at 3am PT, outside the MGM Grand hotel where the match was held—just hours before HBO televised The Sopranos‘ character Christopher Moltisanti, also a recovering alcoholic, getting drunk and committing an act of violence.
The 22-year HBO veteran said in a memo to HBO employees today that he is "deeply sorry" and couldn’t discuss the incident for legal reasons. He also explained he had been a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous for 13 years until two years ago, when he started drinking again.
Albrecht said he will return to AA and address his drinking problem. He also presumes he will return to work, stating: "I will not let you down again." (See Albrecht’s memo to HBO employees today, below.)
Parsons commented in his statement today: "We take these matters very seriously and will monitor this situation closely." While Albrecht is in rehab, HBO COO Bill Nelson takes over as acting head of the premium network, effective immediately.
Albrecht’s daughter, Kate, also worked for HBO, but as an actress. She played Christy, a junior publicist to Debi Mazar’s Shauna, for three seasons on Entourage.
Las Vegas police described the incident as "a battery" assault involving "hitting, choking or shoving," according to the New York Times, which added that the district attorney had not yet filed charges of domestic violence against Albrecht, "although such charges were pending."
Albrecht was kept in a municipal lock-up for about 12 hours and released around 3:15pm on Sunday, when he flew home to Los Angeles, reports the LA Times.
Albrecht’s 5/8/07 memo to HBO employees —
My colleagues and friends:
I am deeply sorry for what occurred in Las Vegas this weekend and for any embarrassment it caused my family, the company I love, and myself.
While I am not at liberty to discuss the incident as the district attorney and my lawyer are still determining the facts, it is my hope to do so in the near future.
This weekend was a wake-up call to me of a weakness I thought I had overcome long ago. I had been a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous for thirteen years. Two years ago, I decided that I could handle drinking again. Clearly, I was wrong. Given that truth, I have committed myself to sobriety. I intend to take a temporary leave of absence from HBO effective today, in order to go back to working with AA.
Leading this company is a great privilege and I pray that I can continue to do so in a manner that brings honor and pride to this remarkable organization and its remarkable people. Thank you for your understanding during these difficult hours, I will not let you down again.