Times Freelancer Hit With One-Month Time-out for Twitter Tirade

By
Photo: Bloomberg/2011 Bloomberg

After New York Times Magazine Q&A-er Andrew Goldman was accused of asking sexist questions in his weekly "Talk" column, he lashed out at his critics on Twitter. For resorting to actual sexism, which he later claimed was satirical, and using bad words like shit, Goldman earned a very public rebuke from new Times ombudsman Margaret Sullivan, who slighted the writer as "a highly replaceable freelancer," one whose "editors are extraordinarily generous" to give him another chance following the "rude and insulting" outburst. But after much discussion about the validity of the lecture, news comes from on high today that Goldman is also being grounded for a month despite not being on staff.

"In light of his recent comments on Twitter, Andrew will not be contributing the Talk column to the Magazine for four weeks, beginning Oct. 28," said Times Magazine editor Hugo Lindgren in a statement this afternoon. "He'll be back with the column after that.‪‪" (Sullivan told Daily Intel, "I didn't have any role in determining the suspension, and wasn't involved in any discussions about it.")

The punishment was announced after a follow-up from the public editor on the Times' social media policy. "First, we should always treat Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms as public activities," said Philip Corbett, the associate managing editor for standards, in a memo on the general rules sent to reporters and editors. "And second, you are a Times journalist, and your online behavior should be appropriate for a Times journalist."

With reference to nonemployees, Corbett admitted, "It would be crazy to try to control freelancers' behavior night and day," but added, "Readers do not distinguish among bylines, and regular contributors in particular are closely associated with The Times."

There is a slight distinction: Of the Goldman decision, Times spokesperson Eileen Murphy clarified "this is not technically a suspension as Andrew is a freelance contributor and not an employee."