The New York Times has denied that it dismissed award-winning queer journalist Lauren Wolfe because she posted a pro-Biden tweet.
Wolfe worked as a freelance editor for the the New York Times (NYT), but was let go shortly after she tweeted on 19 January that she had “chills” after watching Joe Biden’s plane land as he arrived in the Washington, DC area for his inauguration as president.
She had also posted a tweet criticising former president Donald Trump‘s administration for “pettiness” in not providing a plan for Biden, but this was deleted “when she learned Biden chose to take his own plane”.
The tweets garnered criticism from conservatives who argued that Wolfe appeared to show a political bias, according to journalist Yashar Ali as well as The Washington Post.
Ali, who broke the story Wolfe had been let go, tweeted on Thursday (22 January) that her contract had been cancelled just two days after the “chills” tweet.
1. Some news…
Lauren Wolfe, who was an editor on contract for the NYT, has had her contract canceled after she tweeted what's on the left.
Wolfe also tweeted what's on the right, but deleted when she learned Biden chose to take his own plane.
Per two sources. pic.twitter.com/uaB0INZ1q8
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) January 22, 2021
During an interview with The Washington Post, Wolfe alleged that an editor at the New York Times informed her the outlet couldn’t be associated with such a tweet and that her role with the paper would be ending.
Wolfe claimed she received a warning from the same editor “months ago” about her Twitter activity, allegedly citing a tweet in which Wolfe connected the resistance of conservative men to wearing masks to “toxic masculinity”. Wolfe deleted the tweet.
But, according to Wolfe, the manager said her social media posts, in general, were “borderline” and that other NYT staffers had done “worse”.
‘The only reason they fired me’ was because of the tweet.
Wolfe said the pro-Biden tweet was “the only reason they fired me”.
But New York Times spokeswoman Danielle Rhoades Ha, in a subsequent interview for The Washington Post, denied there was a direct connection between Wolfe’s pro-Biden tweet and the end of her career with the newspaper.
Ha said: “There’s a lot of inaccurate information circulating on Twitter. For privacy reasons, we don’t get into the details of personnel matters, but we can say that we didn’t end someone’s employment over a single tweet. Out of respect for the individuals involved, we don’t plan to comment further.”
Wolfe told The Washington Post that it was hard to see the statement, and it was a “shot at my reputation, which I worked very carefully to build”.
The controversy has upended Lauren Wolfe’s career.
Many people have tweeted their support for the journalist. In a post on Twitter, 60 Minutes correspondent Wesley Lowery said journalists should be judged by the “fairness of their work”, “not a random tweet”.
All journalists are humans with feelings and emotions and opinions and biases. Journalists should be judged by the fairness of their *work* – not a random tweet or passing comment or private email in which those human biases are expressed
— Wesley (@WesleyLowery) January 24, 2021
American actress and activist Alyssa Milano asked her followers on Twitter to tweet at the NYT to rehire Wolfe.
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) January 24, 2021
Wolfe said she truly appreciated the support she received online. She asked people not to unsubscribe from the NYT because she “loved this paper and it’s mission my whole life”.
Hi all. I truly appreciate everyone’s support but I need to ask you a favor: PLEASE don’t unsubscribe from @nytimes. I have loved this paper and its mission my whole life. Their journalism is some of the most important & best in the world, & they need to be read widely. Thank you
— Lauren Wolfe (@Wolfe321) January 24, 2021
She wrote: “Their journalism is some of the most important and best in the world. And they need to be read widely. Thank you.”
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