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NYTimes Reporter Resigns After Staff Rejects Results Of ‘Racist Language’ Investigation

NYTimes Reporter Resigns After Staff Rejects Results Of ‘Racist Language’ Investigation

“It is now official NYT policy that for some words, intent does not matter, and it only takes one strike to sink a 47-year career,” Reason editor-at-large Matt Welch said of NYT reporter Donald McNeil Jr.’s resignation.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wl_v0yaPGyU&t=3s

Last week, the Daily Beast reported that New York Times health and science reporter Donald McNeil Jr. had landed himself in hot water with the paper over allegations he used racially offensive and sexist language during a 2019 student trip to Peru. The educational trip, which was open to high school and middle school students and their families, was sponsored by the Times.

According to the Daily Beast, the complaints about McNeil Jr. started after the 2019 trip ended:

After the excursion ended, according to multiple parents of students on the trip who spoke with The Daily Beast along with documents shared with the Times and reviewed by the Beast, many participants relayed a series of troubling accusations to the paper: McNeil repeatedly made racist and sexist remarks throughout the trip including, according to two complaints, using the “n-word.”

[…]

Two students specifically alleged that the science reporter used the “n-word” and suggested he did not believe in the concept of white privilege; three other participants alleged that McNeil made racist comments and used stereotypes about Black teenagers.

A spokesman for the paper told the DB that a “thorough investigation” had been conducted and that McNeil Jr. had been disciplined. According to that same spokesman, the investigation found that the paper’s top coronavirus reporter “had used bad judgment by repeating a racist slur in the context of a conversation about racist language.”

Dean Baquet, the executive editor for the New York Times, said initially he wanted to fire McNeil after hearing of the allegations, but after the investigation was conducted, he concluded that the “remarks were offensive and that he showed extremely poor judgment, but it did not appear to me that his intentions were hateful or malicious.”

This did not make at least 150 of McNeil Jr.’s colleagues very happy. They penned a letter to Baquet and others in senior leadership positions at the paper just a few days after the DB’s initial report and demanded the reporter apologize for the use of the n-word:

… the signees called upon newspaper brass to conduct further investigation of the complaints against McNeil; an apology from McNeil to the students and their parents, tour staffers, and his fellow Times colleagues.

“We, his colleagues, feel disrespected by his actions,” the letter said. “The company has a responsibility to take that experience seriously.”

[…]

But the company’s conclusion about McNeil’s intent was “irrelevant,” the irate staffers wrote in the letter, adding that the paper’s own harassment training “makes clear that what matters is how an act makes the victims feel; Mr. McNeil’s victims weren’t shy about decrying his conduct on the trip.”

Two days later, Baquet announced McNeil “will be leaving the company.” In a note to Times staffers, Baquet proclaimed “we do not tolerate racist language regardless of intent”:

Considering the paper’s investigation concluded McNeil did not intend to be “hateful or malicious” by using the n-word “in the context of a conversation about racist language,” the “regardless of intent” part of Baquet’s Friday statement is key, especially once you read McNeil’s apology letter and find out exactly what the context was:

“On a 2019 New York Times trip to Peru for high school students, I was asked at dinner by a student whether I thought a classmate of hers should have been suspended for a video she made as a 12-year-old in which she used a racial slur,” McNeil began the letter, which was obtained by The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple. “To understand what was in the video, I asked if she had called someone else the slur or whether she was rapping or quoting a book title. In asking the question, I used the slur myself.

“I should not have done that. Originally, I thought the context in which I used this ugly word could be defended. I now realize that it cannot. It is deeply offensive and hurtful. The fact that I even thought I could defend it itself showed extraordinarily bad judgment. For that I apologize,” McNeil wrote.

[…]

After expressing an apology to the students on the trip, the 66-year-old reporter acknowledged that his “lapse of judgment” has hurt his colleagues and the institution itself, which “puts its confidence in me and expected better.”

“So for offending my colleagues – and for anything I’ve done to hurt the Times, which is an institution I love and whose mission I believe in and try to serve – I am sorry. I let you all down,” McNeil concluded.

So it appears McNeil, who had been with the paper for 47 years, was forced out for using the n-word after being asked about its usage by a student on that 2019 trip.

Other writers and journalists condemned the New York Times and McNeil’s co-workers at the paper for boiling a man’s near-50 year career down to racial words said in the context of questions that were asked about such terms:

https://twitter.com/petersavodnik/status/1357809954476883968

Since the New York Times’ harassment training reportedly states that it’s not the intent that matters but “how an act makes the victims feel,” I suppose McNeil Jr.’s army of woke critics at the paper will sleep better tonight knowing that a guy who had been with the paper since 1976 was pushed out essentially because he (contextually) used a word that hurt their feelings.

The rot of political correctness and cancel culture is destroying this country a little bit every day. It’s just really sad to see.

— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —

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Comments

These Dhimmi-crat “struggle sessions” are becoming more and more common. It would be nice to see someone stand up to the totalitarian Dhimmi-crats, for once, instead of meekly submitting to their goose-stepping tactics, with a coerced “confession” of alleged wrongthink.

    The Friendly Grizzly in reply to guyjones. | February 6, 2021 at 5:50 pm

    I don’t like using vulgarities in my comments. And this time I’m going to make an exception.

    The only ones who will be able to stand up to this sort of thing at company meetings or mandatory training, is someone who possesses “fuck you” money. Someone who can afford to be without a job for the rest of their lives. Or, who has a skill that they can market on their own.

      That’s all well and good, but it still removes the offender from his place of employment in comportment with the desires of the mob. He can then be replaced by someone more compliant. When the employer is a major “news” outlet this is of no benefit to the community at large.

What does anyone expect?

They’re coming for you and I. They ultimately want to turn our military’s guns towards us.

How long are we going to “wait” until we are firmly under the control of the Communist Chinese (by way of their servants, our government and big businesses)?

Shades of Hitler waltzing into Austria, without firing a shot…

Read books like this, before that scumbag Jeff Bezos has them censored:
https://www.amazon.com/Nazi-Seizure-Power-Experience-1922-1945/dp/1626548722

Also, Andrew Sullivan can go to hell. What a cowardly hypocrite. This idiot supports Xi-den and supports the Dhimmi-crats, yet, he likes to play the supposed rational, adult mind in the room, by criticizing those of their totalitarian antics that he occasionally finds objectionable to his sensibilities.

As if Sullivan has had his head stuck in the sand, during the Dhimmi-crats’ decades-long march to increasingly unabashed, totalitarian intolerance of dissenting viewpoints and the perpetual vilification and purging of Americans who hold those views. What a hypocritical, posturing phony. If you support Dhimmi-crats, you’re directly enabling all of their totalitarian behavior.

Andrew Sullivan only now discovers — dunce-like — that the Dhimmi-crats’ totalitarian purges and intolerant behavior are out of the playbooks of Stalin, Mao and the Khmer Rouge? He’s just waking up to this fact? He claims it’s “terrifying.” Yet, this dope will still identify as a Dhimmi-crat, and, he’ll still support the Dhimmi-crats. I hate this guy.

I hate to be happy about an injustice, but if leftist organizations want to purge all their competent employees, then the sooner the better.

Only the “woke” nitwits will remain, and they will quickly destroy everything they touch. Nobody will be there to prevent it. Loyal Americans will be watching and laughing.

Speaking the n-word isn’t any kind of mistake, large or small.

All that matters is the intention, which is subject to the usual dynamics of interpretation.

From which come good readings and bad readings.

Good and bad readings ought to be taught.

    DaveGinOly in reply to rhhardin. | February 7, 2021 at 12:28 am

    The fact that we allowed the n-word to become “the n-word” is part of the problem. Too many thought that the banishment of what is nearly universally considered an unconscionable slur was a good idea, without listening to those at the time who were already warning (a la Admiral Ackbar) “It’s a trap!” And like a roach motel, once you check in, you can’t check out.

    mark311 in reply to rhhardin. | February 7, 2021 at 4:13 pm

    I tend to agree with you

2smartforlibs | February 6, 2021 at 4:42 pm

Love the left eating their own

If we’re no longer going to distinguish good and bad readings, what is the scrabble score of the n-word? That ought to be all that matters.

My parents taught me never to use profanity under any circumstances or to use vulgar or demeaning terms in reference to other people. But in a culture in which the most vile profanity is routinely uttered by many people even in mixed public company and even “polite” people use three letter abbreviations for common phrases for things that they don’t want to actually say, it amazes me that this word–and this one only–has become “The Word Which Cannot Be Uttered.” You cannot even pronounce the word to tell someone what word is being discussed and should not be used. This despite the fact that originally I believe it was simply southern dialect that was not perjorative or demeaning, but perhaps had a mild negative connotation. (Yes, I know that more strongly negative connotations were associated with it later.)

Of course, if you are a black person, then you can use it artistically, whimsically, comradely, insultingly, or in any other way you please and no one bats an eye, regardless of whether you were descended from black slaves in America or not.

When this bizarre cultural rule became clear to me, I realized more than ever that those who control our language determine not only who wins the debate, but whether or not you can even HAVE a debate.

P.S. A bit of a rabbit trail, but how much black ancestry does a person need to be able to claim the status of “black” today so that one is not accused of “cultural appropriation” and can safely use the never-to-be-spoken word? One parent–evidently, yes. One grandparent? One great-grandparent? I am unclear. It seems we have not yet reached the point where one can simply “identify” as black.

    KEYoder in reply to KEYoder. | February 6, 2021 at 5:01 pm

    Really? Autocorrect automatically changed my double hyphen “dashes” to single hyphens???? Funny how it’s the little things sometimes that make you want to swear, LOL.

    Ok, I experimented, and I find that you can use alt-codes, so my apologies. I will remember to use those next time.

    Milhouse in reply to KEYoder. | February 6, 2021 at 9:02 pm

    but how much black ancestry does a person need to be able to claim the status of “black” today so that one is not accused of “cultural appropriation” and can safely use the never-to-be-spoken word?

    None. See Sean King (“Talcum X”).

    gonzotx in reply to KEYoder. | February 6, 2021 at 9:20 pm

    One drop

Dean Baquet should be fired for destroying the reputation of the NY Times, which was a great paper once upon a time.

    Eric R. in reply to JLT. | February 6, 2021 at 5:33 pm

    The Slimes has not been a great paper since Abe Rosenthal was Chief Editor, and he resigned in the mid-80s.

    irv in reply to JLT. | February 6, 2021 at 7:23 pm

    Not during my lifetime. And I’m old.

    guyjones in reply to JLT. | February 6, 2021 at 7:28 pm

    Andrew Klavan refers to this miserable propaganda rag as a “former newspaper.” I think he’s being charitable. Personally, I refer to it as the “Pravda Times.”

    zennyfan in reply to JLT. | February 6, 2021 at 7:56 pm

    He’s going to head back to the LA Times to trash what’s left of that paper’s reputation. As if he didn’t do enough during his first tenure.

    gonzotx in reply to JLT. | February 6, 2021 at 9:39 pm

    Over 70 years ago maybe

Many of MLK’s best writings can no longer be assigned, taught, or spoken because they contain the “word that can never be spoken.” Once again, the leftists are attacking free speech and testing the boundaries of what they can force their minions to say and not to say.

A black hole… whore h/t NAACP incident?

Perhaps a baby… burden h/t Obama mistake.

Was it accompanied by a rape… rape-rape h/t Whoopi apology?

The fact that I (New York Times health and science reporter Donald McNeil Jr.) even thought I could defend it itself showed extraordinarily bad judgment.

I save my pity for those that do not work for a rag that tried to cover up the holocaust, and then provided cover for Stalin.

Indeed the judgment of this collaborator with the red guards was extraordinarily poor. If he didn’t realize the character of those who work for that red guard rag he indeed does not display any sign of sound judgment.

Nevertheless, he should sue that rag. It is obvious that he was fired for being of the wrong race and color, and was subjected to a hostile work environment on top of that. If it were not for his not being black – nobody would dare to let go a black person for saying negro. Therefore his race and color is a but-for cause of his termination. Of course, some judge might find somewhere in the emanations of the penumbra that discrimination against non-blacks is a-ok.

    Milhouse in reply to felixrigidus. | February 6, 2021 at 9:05 pm

    I save my pity for those that do not work for a rag that tried to cover up the holocaust, and then provided cover for Stalin.

    You have the chronology wrong way around.

    Milhouse in reply to felixrigidus. | February 6, 2021 at 9:11 pm

    Nevertheless, he should sue that rag. It is obvious that he was fired for being of the wrong race and color, and was subjected to a hostile work environment on top of that. If it were not for his not being black – nobody would dare to let go a black person for saying negro. Therefore his race and color is a but-for cause of his termination.

    I thought of that, but the problem is he wasn’t fired, he resigned, because he remains a true believer in the cause.

    Of course, some judge might find somewhere in the emanations of the penumbra that discrimination against non-blacks is a-ok.

    No, that’s long-decided law and there’s no room for such an interpretation. If he had been fired he would not lose on those grounds. The only defense NYT would have would be that the word is offensive only when some people say it and not others, but that runs smack into the face of… of all cases… Bostock! (Which follows pretty directly from Loving; I would love to know what Justice Thomas really thinks of Loving, in his heart of hearts, and how he would have voted had he been on the court then, assuming he would not have recused himself.)

      felixrigidus in reply to Milhouse. | February 6, 2021 at 11:27 pm

      About the chronological order, you’re probably right for the start, although I do believe they continued to cover for Uncle Joe after the war for quite some time.

      As for not being fired, that would really mess a suit for wrongful termination up – though the hostile work environment might still work.

      And finally, Bostock, the reason for my snarky remarks in the first place…

        DaveGinOly in reply to felixrigidus. | February 7, 2021 at 12:35 am

        It’s certainly possible to resign when constrained to do so and then sue, but to resign and apologize while doing so is a self-inflicted wound.

“the paper’s own harassment training “makes clear that what matters is how an act makes the victims feel”

Yeah, that harks back where all this s*t strted.

The crocodile may come for you last but rest assured he will come for you

Any day now, the dunce caps will be coming out.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-19807561

Resigns? Should of been fired on the spot and doxxed. Give Democrats the Republican treatment for once.

Jason Blair could not be reached for comment. Once this guy apologized, I lost all interest.

Never apologize.

When commenters compared the Times (or WaPo etc) to Pravda I used to joke, “unfair, Pravda was more objective”. I still say that but it is no longer a joke.

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