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.
4 thoughts on “Why You Will Never Know the True Reason the NYT Fired Lauren Wolfe”
Good article, which I hope people reading don’t concentrate on the tweets posted but the message that EvilHR is saying. Unless the employee is in a guaranteed job position (and those are extremely rare) people get fired all the time. We don’t know the exact terms of her job employment at NYTimes but one thing we do know is that they (despite having a biased thinking approach) do have a very knowledgeable legal team. So any hiring or firing contracts have very strict in place wording. So the NYTimes followed the letter of the work contract for this individual. Our EvilHR lady has also mentioned in previous articles that using social media incorrectly to post about work-related topics in a negative matter will haunt you forever. I don’t know if it’s an attitude acceptance about posting everything online of the younger generation who don’t realize that their words have hefty meaning beyond their circle of “followers” especially if they are public posting. But like stated in the article there’s a site for venting about ex-companies worked for that allow both to develop plans for the future. What I think is the problem here expressed by the unknown public on the firing is the specifics involved which is really none of their business.
A really developed company has the right conditions for working for them expressed specifically on paper, which the job applicant/worker knows. Progressive (I am going to change everything to suit my needs and desires) thinking doesn’t work so positively within these rules. Hence the outrage attitude posting.
One more scenario could be a situation where HR serves as an enabler of a senior person’s political agenda to remove a perceived threat for that senior. In this scenario HR will plot with the senior to sabotage that person’s career using subtle but deniable tactics until they’ve built a critical mass of demerits to justify firing that person.
As you say “Who knows?” But to continue with your line of conjecture the NYT, as a workplace, has a long reputation of being a “snake pit” and HR has a well deserved reputation of “evil” hence your not-so-ironic moniker. These kind of occurrences are probably why HR is deemed necessary but never invited to the boardroom.
Read this depressing story.
AKA “Wednesday” for most women.
I’m just glad the one time I got fired it was not in the public eye…every day I’m thankful the journalism career I envisioned for myself in high school never panned out (the dismal job market, lack of respect for reporting now, etc.).
The firing was hard enough despite my being happy to leave the place after three months. To have it public would have compounded things.
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