A New Yorker employee claims she was fired by the magazine after raising concerns that the publication’s workforce suffered from a lack of diversity and “gender inequality”.
Erin Overbey, editor of the Condé Nast-owned weekly’s archives, posted a long Twitter thread on Monday in which she undertook to file a grievance with the union.
She claims to have been scapegoated by the magazine’s editors who blamed her for an error inserted in the copy of an article by David Remnick, the publication’s editor.
But a source told the Post that Overbey was fired for a “pattern of conduct” deemed “disruptive to the functioning of society” and which “undermines our magazine’s journalistic ethics.”
The Post also learned that Overbey was penalized for “self-plagiarism” — or copying and pasting work that had already been published and reusing it verbatim while presenting it as fresh.
Overbey responded by saying the New Yorker’s claims are “complete nonsense”.
She told the Post via email that the magazine used the self-plagiarism claims and was “disruptive” because “they seem awfully eager to change the subject by berating me for the errors Remnick added to the copy. for which I was responsible”.
“Condé Nast himself gave me an award for outstanding achievement and this allegation of ‘poor performance’ which they claim (the ridiculous nature of which I described in my thread last week) only arose. that AFTER she started emphasizing diversity and gender inequality at the magazine,” Overbey wrote in an email to the Post.
“I started writing the yarn in July; I have documents to prove it. If the company deems me “disruptive” for raising diversity and gender issues, then that’s their problem. »
A Condé Nast spokesperson told the Post, “The New Yorker prides itself on its professionalism, accuracy and adherence to the highest journalistic standards.”
“False allegations that undermine our journalistic integrity and attack colleagues are inappropriate and unacceptable in our workplace,” the spokesperson added.
According to Overbey, she was “subjected to a performance review shortly after sending an email raising concerns about gender inequality and inclusion at the magazine.”
Overbey wrote that she sent a company-wide email on June 14 denouncing the lack of diversity at The New Yorker, which she “started following” in 2019. Three days later, a she said, she was “subjected to a performance review”. ”
She quoted a separate Twitter feed from last year in which she denounced her magazine for not publishing enough stories and articles by minority journalists.
“Does anyone know how many of the more than 40,000 feature articles and reviews that The New Yorker (the print magazine) has published in its 96-year history have ever been edited by a black editor? ?” she tweeted on September 14, 2021.
She then listed several choices of “a) 6%, b)
Overbey then took aim at Remnick. “In the past 15 years at the @NewYorker, under the tenure of editor David Remnick (author of a biography on Obama), less than 0.01% of news articles and reviews have been edited by a black editor , ” she tweeted.
Overbey then tweeted that the print edition had “only 4 book reviews by African American women”.
In the 30 years from 1990 to 2020, only 3.6% of book reviews published by the print edition were by African American reviewers or writers, according to Overbey.
A magazine source told the Post that just days before her tweet thread in September, she received a final warning about self-plagiarism. The source said Overbey’s diversity tweets were a foil for his poor performance.
The Post saw a copy of Conde Nast’s termination letter to Overbey. The letter said human resources had “repeated discussions related to performance and behavioral issues.”
In Monday’s tweet thread, Overbey writes that the publication “never disputed the magazine’s diversity data that I presented” in September.
She also wrote that the magazine “has never disputed that my two weekly archive newsletters have always been the magazine’s top performing newsletters”.
“Whenever you raise concern, criticism or alarm about one of the most powerful institutions in the media, they will use every tool at their disposal to oppose you,” Overbey tweeted.
“It’s their prerogative.”
She added: “But I will defend myself in the strongest terms.”
Last month, the Washington Post fired one of its national political reporters, Felicia Sonmez, after she publicly lambasted the paper for failing to sufficiently discipline a male colleague, Dave Weigel, who retweeted a joke deemed “sexist.”
Weigel was suspended for a month without pay.