New York Times reporter, Lauren Wolfe lost her job last week. According to Twitter, it was all about the above tweet.
The theory was that The New York Times bent to the will of conservatives and fired Wolfe because of her joy in having Biden assume the presidency. Yashar Ali, who in my opinion, is a good journalist with a good deal of integrity, claimed as much in this tweet thread. (Click the first tweet to read the whole thread.)
2. Lauren Wolfe was tasked with mostly editing stories that were on the NYT live page (which were constantly updated) related to the pandemic and breaking news events.— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) January 22, 2021
Most of the criticism of her tweet came from conservatives.
And Wolfe’s Union backed her as well:
TimesGuild statement on Lauren Wolfe: pic.twitter.com/x555qHnAcq— NYTimesGuild (@NYTimesGuild) January 24, 2021
Okay. It seems pretty terrible and I understand why people are upset. But I seriously doubt that she was fired for *this* tweet. I mean, if the New York Times is going to fire reporters for their political views there are a lot of people ahead of Wolfe in line.
But, maybe she was. I don’t know for sure. You don’t know for sure. The only people who know for sure why she was fired are the people who fired her. Yes, it’s possible that Wolfe, herself, doesn’t understand the big picture. (Heaven knows, when you’ve put someone on a performance improvement plan, spent weeks if not months coaching them, and they continue to do the same bad behavior, and you ultimately have to terminate them, they run around saying they have no idea why they were fired.)
The New York Times made this statement.
NYT statement on the chills tweet: “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..We don’t plan to comment further”— Joe Pompeo (@joepompeo) January 24, 2021
And unless Wolfe decides to sue, and it actually goes to court, that is as much as we will know about the termination reasons.
It’s super frustrating when a former employee runs around badmouthing your business. Reviews on Glassdoor and Yelp can hurt your business, and yet, most businesses (rightfully) keep their mouths shut. Sure, we all share the rare gleeful moments when a business fights back and responds to someone’s Glasssdoor review with details about the true termination reason, but you’ll notice that companies with employment lawyers on staff don’t do that.
Yes, the truth is a defense. No, responding on Twitter is not what you want to do here–other than the bland “no comment” that the NYT made.
So, was she fired for that one tweet? I doubt it. Her contract was coming to an end. They may had decided to not renew it six months ago. Is it possible that there are a ton of other reasons the NYT decided to part ways? Sure. Is it possible it was pressure from conservatives over this tweet? Unlikely, but sure.
We won’t know. And that’s how it should be. Companies that respect their employees continue to do so after termination. Wolfe herself isn’t badmouthing the NYT.
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
Now, as for the people who are harassing Wolfe, this needs to stop. Mobbing and attacking people and threatening their lives over a tweet or an Instagram post needs to stop. Agree or disagree with a person all you want, but do not threaten.