The New York Times has demoted Jonathan Weisman, formerly a deputy Washington editor, after he made not one but several weird and racist tweets, then proceeded to harass writer Roxane Gay via email after she called him out. Weisman is also no longer allowed to tweet, which is assuredly for the best.
The Times reports that Weisman will no longer oversee the paper’s correspondents in Congress, though he’ll still remain employed and an editor. Weisman met with executive editor Dean Baquet on Tuesday and was “contrite,” according to Times media reporter Marc Tracy. Weisman also told Tracy, “I accept Dean’s judgment. I think he’s right to do what he’s doing. I embarrassed the newspaper, and he had to act.”
Weisman’s (rather small) fall began late last month, when he tweeted out a wild thread suggesting that people of color from cities don’t represent the areas they’re from. “Saying @RashidaTlaib (D-Detroit) and @IlhanMN (D-Minneapolis) are from the Midwest is like saying @RepLloydDoggett (D-Austin) is from Texas or @repjohnlewis (D-Atlanta) is from the Deep South,” he wrote. Folks were pretty quick to point out that claiming only rural white people can be “real” Deep Southerners or Midwesterners is a dangerous and racist misconception, one that fuels the rampant white supremacism that’s been gaining mainstream traction in the Trump era, and Weisman deleted the tweets.
And yet, like so many white men (and New York Times writers) before him, Weisman learned nothing from this experience. Last week, he tweeted this ditty:
When Harper responded to point out that she too is black, Weisman made another galaxy brain tweet:
Weisman’s rather poor social media moves caught the ire of a lot of people, including New York Times contributor Gay, who let him hear it. Weisman then emailed her, her assistant, and her publisher DEMANDING an apology, which is some real white dude shit:
And now, he’s been (mildly) punished. Hopefully Weisman’s learned a little something now, and won’t just end up writing an op-ed decrying the mean Twitter mob that cost him his fancy title. Though considering some of his colleagues, I wouldn’t be surprised.