NYT Demotes Racist Editor Jonathan Weisman Instead of Firing

Deputy Washington Editor for The New York Times Jonathan Weisman has been demoted – but not fired – after he ignited fury on Twitter for racist tweets.

In late July, Weisman deleted a tweet  after he suggested Democratic Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar were not truly from the Midwest and their colleague Rep. John Lewis, a prominent figure in the civil rights movement, was not from the Deep South. They were widely criticized as racist.

Then, as if the first Tweet weren’t enough, last week Weisman  tweeted that the Justice Democrats were backing a candidate, Morgan Harper, and “seeking to unseat an African-American Democrat.” Weisman failed to realize Harper is Black.

Harper was quick to correct him on Twitter.

Despite all this, the New York Times is fine with Weisman continuing to be on staff.

“Jonathan Weisman met with [Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet] today and apologized for his recent serious lapses in judgment. As a consequence of his actions, he has been demoted and will no longer be overseeing the team that covers Congress or be active on social media. We don’t typically discuss personnel matters but we’re doing so in this instance with Jonathan’s knowledge,” a Times spokesperson said in a statement.

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A Times spokesperson also had to apologize for Weisman’s behavior after he told Roxane Gay, an author who occasionally writes op-ed pieces for The Times, that she owed him an “enormous apology” for mocking Weisman on Twitter.

Gay reacted to the emails from Weisman saying she was “legitimately shocked.”

A spokesperson for The Times said after the incident that Weisman had “repeatedly displayed poor judgement on social media and in responding to criticism” and that they were “closely examining what to do about it.”

CNN reported that people inside The Times were alarmed at Weisman’s behavior on social media.

“The people in Washington work so hard,” one reporter for The Times told CNN. “[Weisman’s tweets] just take away from all the hard work people have done.”