On Monday, the NY Times announced the resignation of Metro Editor Wendell Jamieson, following an investigation. While the details of the investigation were not disclosed, Jamieson wrote in an email to staff, "I regret and apologize for my mistakes and leaving under these circumstances." Now the NY Post claims those "mistakes" "involved four or five women."
The Times itself reports that Jamieson "was accused of inappropriate behavior by at least three female employees, according to two people familiar with the investigation. The people said at least two women at The Times had alleged that Mr. Jamieson engaged in inappropriate communication... According to one person familiar with the investigation, the Times statement lacked detail because the women had asked that their identities not be revealed."
Of the circumstances around Jamieson's departure, NY Times spokeswoman said, "We want to ensure that we foster a climate where employees feel free to come forward with complaints knowing that we will investigate fully and protect their privacy after doing so." A source was skeptical, telling the Post, "They could have told us what he did without revealing names."
Vanity Fair has details from a meeting that Times executive editor Dean Baquet held on Monday afternoon:
In a meeting with the metro staff Monday afternoon, according to people familiar with the meeting, Baquet acknowledged that the Jamieson investigation was within the #MeToo realm. “The issue was not about the journalism of The New York Times,” he said. He also indicated that it was not a law enforcement matter.
Beyond that, though, Baquet was necessarily circumspect—citing privacy concerns—when pressed for more information. “I feel like shit as a leader and a journalist not answering questions that I’d have Sarah Huckabee Sanders answer,” he said, according to a person who heard the remark.
“No one even knows what the charges are,” one Times journalist told me. “It’s so hard to wrap your head around,” said a metro staffer. “I feel like I’ve been punched in the heart.”
As Vanity Fair points out, the Times has done much of the trailblazing reporting that helped spark the #MeToo movement, but some staffers are now troubled by a lack of transparency as the publication grapples with its own problems with inappropriate behavior and harassment.
A senior editor told Vanity Fair, "A lot of folks feel it’s not true accountability if the nature of the alleged wrongdoing isn’t known. But others note that the statement makes clear that the vagueness and ambiguity are to protect the privacy of those involved. It’s a hard case. I’d say that people are less frustrated or angry than that they are sad and mystified."
Frustrations from media staffers about how their companies handle internal sexual harassment scandals are not uncommon: Vox cancelled their holiday party's open bar because it might encourage "overconsumption" of alcohol and lead to a toxic environment, leading to outrage. Some staffers at New York Public Radio (Gothamist's parent company) felt an independent investigation, commissioned by the board after reports of sexual harassment and discrimination, was "lacking."