The newspaper that helped kickstart the national reckoning with sexual assault in the workplace that has brought down dozens of powerful male figures in the media and entertainment industries has decided to let one of its own employees off the hook - a startlingly hypocritical decision that is sure to elecit a powerful backlash from the paper's readers and staffers alike.
The New York Times announced Wednesday that, following an intensive investigation, Glenn Thrush - formerly one of the paper's most prominent reporters before Vox published a story about his alleged history of sexual harassment - will return to work at the Times in January. Thrush was suspended without pay in late November, pending the results of the investigation.
Dean Baquet, the paper's executive editor, said he made the decision after reviewing a report about the internal investigation, which was conducted by a lawyer working in the Times newsroom. No less than 30 individuals - some Times employees, some not - were interviewed during the course of the investigation.
“We understand that our colleagues and the public at large are grappling with what constitutes sexually offensive behavior in the workplace and what consequences are appropriate,” Mr. Baquet added. “Each case has to be evaluated based on individual circumstances. We believe this is an appropriate response to Glenn’s situation."
Baquet added that Thrush is seeking treatment for an unspecified substance abuse problem.
In its report about Thrush's lewd and inappropriate behavior, Vox reporter Laura McGann discussed her encounters with Thrush in the first person, but also included stories from three other women, told in the third person. In each account, Thrush was depicted as a borderline alcoholic who would drink to excess before occasionally engaging in unwanted kissing and touching. Thrush, who had been a star reporter at Politico, was hired by The Times in January to cover the Trump administration.
So far, Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer and most of the other high-profile media men who were fired and booted from polite society after sexual harassment allegations surfaced have remained fired. Thrush is one of the few examples where one of these figures got to keep their job.
At the New York Times, no less.