NY Times defends hiring of editorial writer after emergence of past racial tweets

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The New York Times stood by its decision to hire technology writer Sarah Jeong as an editorial board member despite the emergence of racially insensitive tweets she had posted years ago.
Jeong was hired by the Times on Wednesday, but the newspaper soon received strong backlash from social media and some conservative outlets after tweets emerged in which Jeong made racially insensitive comments. 
{mosads}“Oh man it’s kind of sick how much joy I get out of being cruel to old white men,” Jeong, 30, said in a tweet from 2014 that has since been deleted.

“Dumbass f—ing white people marking up the internet with their opinions like dogs pissing on fire hydrants,” Jeong said in another 2014 tweet.

A third tweet posted by Jeong in 2014 said: “Are white people genetically predisposed to burn faster in the sun, thus logically being only fit to live underground like groveling goblins.” 

The Times said in a statement on Thursday that it stood by its decision to hire Jeong and had reviewed the writer’s social media accounts prior to her hiring, while calling the content of the tweets “unacceptable.”

“We hired Sarah Jeong because of the exceptional work she has done covering the internet and technology at a range of respected publications,” The Times said.

The Times added that Jeong, as a “young Asian woman,” had been the “subject of frequent online harassment” and that “for a period of time she responded to that harassment by imitating the rhetoric of her harassers.”

The newspaper said that Jeong knows “now that this approach only served to feed the vitriol that we too often see on social media. She regrets it, and The Times does not condone it.”

Meanwhile, Jeong, in the Times statement, expressed regret for the tweets.

“I engaged in what I thought of at the time of counter-trolling. While it was intended as satire, I deeply regret that I mimicked the language of my harassers,” she said.

“These comments were not aimed at a general audience, because general audiences do not engage in harassment campaigns. I can understand how hurtful these posts are out of context, and would not do it again.”

The Times response comes after conservative outlets and social media slammed the paper for condoning “racist” remarks.

“Newest Member of NYT Editorial Board Has History of Racist Tweets” read a headline in National Review.

Meanwhile, The Federalist posted a story with the headline “New York Times Hires Left-Wing Writer With Long History Of Racist Tweets,” while Daily Caller said: “NYTIMES’ NEWEST HIRE SENT TONS OF ANTI-WHITE RACIST TWEETS.”
Jeong also faced criticism from social media for her posts.
Twitter has become a controversial social media platform in the current political climate, with high-profile journalists saying they might leave the platform after tweets attacking them and family members. 
-Updated Aug. 3

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