Allegations Flying in Both Directions at the New Yorker

From The Poynter Report with Tom Jones:

The big media buzz on Monday was an editor at The New Yorker claiming she was fired because she raised concerns about gender and racial  inequality at the magazine and because she accused its editor-in-chief — one of the biggest names in journalism — of inserting mistakes into her articles.

This one contains a lot of allegations flying in both directions.

In a quite lengthy Twitter thread, Erin Overbey, who was an archives editor at The New Yorker, said she was fired. It comes a week after another lengthy Twitter thread in which she said she was previously placed on “performance review” after raising concerns in an email to the company about gender inequity at the Condé Nast publication. In her tweets, she also said that David Remnick, the editor-in-chief of The New Yorker and one of the most respected names in business, added “errors” to her copy while she was under performance review. “I don’t pretend to understand why he did this,” Overbey wrote on July 19.

In Monday’s Twitter thread, Overby wrote that The New Yorker has not contested her many allegations and said, “Whenever you raise concerns, criticisms, or alarms about one of the most powerful institutions in media, they will use every tool at their disposal to oppose you. That is their prerogative.” She added, “But I will defend myself in the strongest of terms.”

The Twitter thread — actually both Twitter threads — have much, much more about her claims, and they’re too lengthy to publish in full here, but I encourage you to read it all. Overbey wrote Monday, “The @NewYorker is, in many ways, a wonderful institution. But it’s also ground zero for a kind of regressive literary gatekeeping, class exclusivity & old-school cultural thinking that simply no longer have any relation to, or frankly relevance in, the modern world as we know it.”

She also said she is considering filing a grievance with the publication’s union and said she has evidence to back up all her claims.

July 19 wasn’t the first time Overbey took to Twitter to raise questions about The New Yorker. Last September, Overbey had a Twitter thread about a lack of diversity at The New Yorker that started with, “Let’s talk about racism.”

Overbey has called herself a “female whistleblower.”

In a statement on Monday, Condé Nast said, “The New Yorker prides itself on professionalism, accuracy, and adherence to the highest journalistic standards. False allegations that malign our journalistic integrity and that attack colleagues are inappropriate and unacceptable in our workplace.”

Then came more.

The New York Post’s Ariel Zilber and Alexandra Steigrad wrote that a source told them Overbey was fired for a “pattern of conduct” that was considered “disruptive to the operation of the Company” and that undermined “the journalistic ethics of our magazine.” The Post also wrote that Overbey had been disciplined for “self-plagiarism,” which is using work that had already been published and passing it off as new material. When asked about these claims, Overbey told the Post that they were “completely absurd.”

Zilber and Steigrad wrote, “A source at the magazine told The Post that just days before her tweet thread in September, she was given a final warning about self-plagiarism. The source said Overbey’s tweets about diversity were a foil for her poor performance. The Post has seen a copy of Conde Nast’s termination letter to Overbey. The letter said that human resources had ‘repeated discussions related to performance and behavioral concerns.’”

The Daily Beast’s Lachlan Cartwright wrote that four current and former New Yorker staffers said Oberbey was “unnecessarily hostile” and “an opportunist” who took to social media whenever she had run-ins with management. Cartwright wrote, “The staffers further claimed that Overbey’s grievances with The New Yorker began years ago when she grew frustrated with changes to the management structure of the archive and was concerned about losing power over her ‘fiefdom.’”

Overbey told Cartwright that she thought Condé Nast brass was “targeting” her, adding, “I do feel like this is a concentrated effort to target someone who wouldn’t shut up about certain issues that the magazine wanted them to shut up about.”

Overbey had another Twitter thread Monday that started with, “So apparently, just as I predicted, several hit pieces incoming.” She added, “One of them is relying on multiple anonymous @NewYorker sources who claim I’m ‘hostile’ & ‘opportunistic.’ I guess women are ‘opportunistic’ when they query pay?? But also, I’d have to be the dumbest opportunistic person on the planet to keep putting myself on the line like this.” And then she wrote, “Anyway, this is how you smear someone. And all because I pointed out appalling inequities both in-house & publicly, and because I had the temerity to point out errors in my copy that weren’t my own.”

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