NYT Publisher Denies Sexism in Abramson Firing, Says She Was a Bad Manager

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
May 17 2014 8:58 PM

NYT Publisher Denies Sexism in Abramson Firing, Says She Was a Bad Manager

168250577-executive-editor-of-the-new-york-times-jill-abramson
Jill Abramson speaks at a conference in New York on May 7, 2013

Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for WIRED

New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. spoke up on Saturday, vehemently rejecting the “shallow and factually incorrect storyline [that] has emerged” about the ouster of the newspaper’s executive editor, Jill Abramson, earlier this week. In a statement, Sulzberger says that what is “perhaps the saddest outcome” of the firing is that many have been using it “as an example of the unequal treatment of women in the workplace.” In reality though, Abramson was just a bad manager who mistreated colleagues, had poor communications skills, and made bad decisions.

“During her tenure, I heard repeatedly from her newsroom colleagues, women and men, about a series of issues, including arbitrary decision-making, a failure to consult and bring colleagues with her, inadequate communication and the pubic mistreatment of colleagues,” wrote Sulzberger. “She acknowledged that there were issues and agreed to try to overcome them … It became clear, however, that the gap was too big to bridge and ultimately I concluded that she had lost the support of her masthead colleagues and could not win it back.” Lots of women work at the Times and “they do not look for special treatment” but rather “want to be judged fairly and objectively on their performance. That is what happened in the case of Jill.”

Advertisement

Sulzberger once again denied claims that Abramson was earning less than her predecessor, saying her compensation package “was more than 10 percent higher” in her last year as executive editor. “Equal pay for women is an important issue in our country,” Sulzberger wrote. “But it doesn’t help to advance the goal of pay equality to cite the case of a female executive whose compensation was not in fact unequal.” (Of course, if what The New Yorker’s Ken Auletta has been reporting is true, her pay during her last year on the job was only part of the story considering she had reportedly discovered a pattern of lower paychecks than her male colleagues dating back more than a decade.)

Meanwhile, Abramson’s daughter, 31-year-old Cornelia Griggs, whom the New York Times’  Ravi Somaiya describes as “among the most visible” Abramson supporters since the ouster, wrote on Instagram on Friday that “the story isn’t over, not even close.”

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

TODAY IN SLATE

Foreigners

More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

The Best Way to Organize Your Fridge

Politics

The GOP’s Focus on Fake Problems

Why candidates like Scott Walker are building campaigns on drug tests for the poor and voter ID laws.

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

Is It Worth Paying Full Price for the iPhone 6 to Keep Your Unlimited Data Plan? We Crunch the Numbers.

Farewell! Emily Bazelon on What She Will Miss About Slate.

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 16 2014 7:03 PM Kansas Secretary of State Loses Battle to Protect Senator From Tough Race
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 16 2014 4:16 PM The iPhone 6 Marks a Fresh Chance for Wireless Carriers to Kill Your Unlimited Data
  Life
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 8:43 PM This 17-Minute Tribute to David Fincher Is the Perfect Preparation for Gone Girl
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 6:40 PM This iPhone 6 Feature Will Change Weather Forecasting
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 16 2014 4:09 PM It’s All Connected What links creativity, conspiracy theories, and delusions? A phenomenon called apophenia.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.