New York Times journalists leave after accusations of racism, harassment

'I should not have done that,' said one journalist

On Friday, The New York Times announced that two journalists who penned some of the outlet’s most high-profile work of the last three years will be leaving after they both allegedly displayed inappropriate behavior in the past.

In two memos, staff member of the Times were informed of the departures of Donald G. McNeil Jr., a science correspondent who reported on the coronavirus pandemic, and Andy Mills, an audio journalist who helped create “The Daily” and was a producer and co-host of “Caliphate,” a 2018 podcast, according to the Times.

New York City Police vehicles sit parked outside the office of the The New York Times, October 25, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

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McNeil, the outlet’s top reporter on COVID-19 will be departing after at least six students and their parents accused him of using the “n-word” and sexist remarks throughout a Times-sponsored educational trip to Peru.

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Initially, Dean Baquet, the paper’s executive editor, had opted to give McNeil a second chance. Soon after, more than 150 Times staff members sent a letter to the publisher, A.G. Sulzberger, criticizing the paper’s stance on Mr. McNeil.

“Despite The Times’s seeming commitment to diversity and inclusion, we have given a prominent platform — a critical beat covering a pandemic disproportionately affecting people of color — to someone who chose to use language that is offensive and unacceptable by any newsroom’s standards,” wrote the staff members.

Subsequently, top brass at the paper agreed with the group’s message and ousted McNeil.

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In an email shared with Times staff, McNeil accepted culpability. “I should not have done that,” McNeil wrote “Originally, I thought the context in which I used this ugly word could be defended. I now realize that it cannot. It is deeply offensive and hurtful,” he wrote.

The departure of Mr. Mills, the audio journalist came after old allegations that he harassed female at a former job resurfaced. People who worked with Mr. Mills in his previous job, at the WNYC show “Radiolab,” posted complaints on Twitter about his behavior toward women in the “Radiolab” workplace and in social settings.

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