Writer Sarah Jeong joined the New York Times on Wednesday as the lead technology writer for the paper’s editorial board. Following the hiring, right-wing publications such as National Review and the Federalist and alt-right Twitter users scoured through Jeong’s Twitter feed and dug up what they call racist and anti-white tweets from 2013 to early 2015.
In a 2014 tweet, Jeong likened white people to “groveling goblins.” (Though, to be fair, it was in the context of speculating whether they were predisposed to sunburn and thus needing to seek shelter underground from the sun.) Also in 2014, she tweeted about “white people marking up the internet with their opinions like dogs pissing on fire hydrants.”
Meet the newest member of the New York Times editorial board.
I'd say that these tweets were part of her resumè when she applied for the job. pic.twitter.com/CLgFvPeAgM
— Garbage Human 🗑 (@GarbageHuman_) August 2, 2018
Jeong is a young woman in an industry, tech, that is made up mostly of white males, and she has often been the target of racist and sexist comments online. In an Aug. 2 statement on Twitter, she wrote, “I engaged in what I thought of at the time as counter-trolling. While it was intended as satire, I deeply regret that I mimicked the language of my harassers. These comments were not aimed at a general audience, because general audiences do not engage in harassment campaigns.” She included two examples of the harassment.
She went on to say, “I can understand how hurtful these posts are out of context, and would not do it again.”
The Times is standing by Jeong, who wrote a book on internet harassment titled The Internet of Garbage. The newspaper released the following statement:
Our statement in response to criticism of the hiring of Sarah Jeong. pic.twitter.com/WryIgbaoqg
— NYTimes Communications (@NYTimesPR) August 2, 2018
“Her journalism and the fact that she is a young Asian woman have made her a subject of frequent online harassment,” the statement read in part. “For a period of time she responded to that harassment by imitating the rhetoric of her harassers. She sees 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.”
Many other journalists also stood up for Jeong.
We are proud of the work that @sarahjeong has done at The Verge, which reflects her brilliance and empathy for everyone around her. All of us stand by Sarah; digging for old, out-of-context tweets in bad faith to drum up outrage is bad for the news and society at large. https://t.co/cebnIB3QjG
— nilay patel (@reckless) August 2, 2018
Man, this @sarahjeong "controversy" is ridiculous. What has made her such an authentic writer over the years is the funny, smart, and original way she has used twitter. To use her clearly tongue-in-cheek tweets to now stifle her voice is so depressing.
— Trevor Timm (@trevortimm) August 2, 2018
Sarah Jeong is supremely talented and we are lucky to have her join the times. Proud to call her a colleague.
— ಠ_ಠ (@MikeIsaac) August 2, 2018
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