Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Breaking News

Observer Bars Open Letters From Its Writers About Paper — and Ties to Donald Trump

The New York Observer is pulling the plug on open letters from its writers that criticize the paper — and its controversial relationship to Donald Trump.

Ryan Holiday, a journalist and editor-at-large at the Observer, said that the paper refused to publish his essay Dear Dad, Please Don’t Vote For Donald Trump and told staffers that it would “no longer accept columns of this nature on this topic.”

While the letter is a personal essay about his relationship to his father, Holiday said his editors took issue with his reference to the paper’s “father issues when it comes to Donald Trump.”

Jared Kushner, the paper’s publisher, is Trump’s son-in-law and the paper has endorsed the candidate in April.

Holiday said that he offered to cut out the problematic paragraph, but still received a refusal.

“I love the Observer and have published much of my best work, much of it political, there for four years,” said Holiday in an email. “Since the offer to adjust that problematic language was declined, I have trouble following the logic that this ‘navel gazing’ paragraph about Trump’s relationship with the Observer was the core issue.”

The announcement comes as damage control in the wake of the media firestorm that followed Observer culture reporter Dana Schwartz’s letter criticizing Kushner’s silence on the anti-Semitic attacks of Trump supporters in the wake of his Star of David tweet.

Senior Politics Editor Jillian Jorgensen tweeted that there was an internal decision not to publish open letters from Observer staff about the paper. The paper is still accepting critical open letters from non-staff.

Holiday said that while Observer editor Ken Kurson encouraged him to publish his letter elsewhere, he does not agree with the paper’s decision.

“Surely the Observer does not have a problem with the literary concept of ‘open letters’ — it’s a common practice,” he said. “It seems to me that the problem was the subject matter and I would feel ashamed of myself to not publish something I believed in simply because my writing home would not publish it.”

Schwartz said that she had not been aware of any policy change at the paper and declined to comment further.

Kurson refused to discuss the issue in a terse email exchange with the Forward.

“Are you kidding me?” he wrote. “I will maintain my focus on meaningful work and I hope you’ll do the same. “

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.