New York Times Opinion writer and editor Bari Weiss will leave the newspaper after a three-year tenure.
In a resignation letter Weiss posted to her website, she attributed the decision to what she described as a culture of intellectual orthodoxy within The New York Times. “The truth is that intellectual curiosity—let alone risk-taking—is now a liability at The Times,” she wrote.
Weiss said that her “forays into Wrongthink” had caused her to be singled out for criticism by colleagues. “My work and my character are openly demeaned on company-wide Slack channels where masthead editors regularly weigh in,” she wrote. “There, some coworkers insist I need to be rooted out if this company is to be a truly ‘inclusive’ one, while others post ax emojis next to my name.”
Weiss often wrote about issues of anti-Semitism, and said that colleagues were inhospitable to that work. “I have learned to brush off comments about how I’m ‘writing about the Jews again,’” she wrote.
She also accused New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger, to whom the letter was addressed, and other leaders of the newspaper of “praising me in private for my courage” while declining to defend her work publicly.
Weiss’s resignation arrived shortly after that of the Opinion section’s editor, James Bennet, who stepped down after publishing an op-ed by Senator Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) that called for the deployment of troops against demonstrators protesting police violence and sparked backlash within and outside the newspaper. Amid debate over the incident, Weiss alluded on Twitter to an internal “civil war” about the limits of free speech between “(mostly young) wokes” and “(mostly 40+) liberals.” Some colleagues disagreed with her characterization of the newspaper’s climate, and fellow Opinion editor Max Strasser called the tweet “inaccurate.”
On Twitter, the Simon Wiesenthal Center championed Weiss, saying her exodus was the result of “having chutzpah to speak out against Jew-hatred.”
In a statement to Vice, Kathleen Kingsbury, acting editorial page director, said, “We appreciate the many contributions that Bari made to Times Opinion. I’m personally committed to ensuring that The Times continues to publish voices, experiences and viewpoints from across the political spectrum in the Opinion report.” The New York Times has not responded to the Forward’s request for comment.
Prior to working at the New York Times, Weiss worked for the Wall Street Journal, Tablet, Haaretz, and The Forward.
Irene Katz Connelly is an editorial fellow at the Forward. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.