Opinion editor Bari Weiss resigned from The New York Times on Tuesday, penning a scathing letter of resignation in which she alleged that she was subjected to “constant bullying” from colleagues who deemed many of her ideas “wrongthink.”
Weiss said she was hired by the Times in 2017 to bring in “voices that would not otherwise appear in your pages,” including centrists and conservatives, as part of an effort prompted by the Times’s admitted “failure to anticipate the outcome of the 2016 election meant that it didn’t have a firm grasp of the country it covers.”
“But the lessons that ought to have followed the election—lessons about the importance of understanding other Americans, the necessity of resisting tribalism, and the centrality of the free exchange of ideas to a democratic society—have not been learned,” Weiss said in her letter addressed to publisher A. G. Sulzberger. “Instead, a new consensus has emerged in the press, but perhaps especially at this paper: that truth isn’t a process of collective discovery, but an orthodoxy already known to an enlightened few whose job is to inform everyone else.”
Weiss said her work and character were “openly demeaned” and she was the target of “unlawful discrimination” in the toxic work environment she described at the Times.
“Twitter is not on the masthead of The New York Times,” Weiss wrote.” But Twitter has become its ultimate editor. As the ethics and mores of that platform have become those of the paper, the paper itself has increasingly become a kind of performance space.”
“My own forays into Wrongthink have made me the subject of constant bullying by colleagues who disagree with my views. They have called me a Nazi and a racist; I have learned to brush off comments about how I’m ‘writing about the Jews again,'” she said.
During her three years with the paper, Weiss faced intense scrutiny and battled a string of controversies, including the opinion staff’s recent decision to publish an op-ed by Senator Tom Cotton that provoked backlash among Times staff members. Cotton’s op-ed, which the paper eventually said did not meet its standards, called for the military to be mobilized to quell the riots that erupted in cities across the country this summer. In response to the internal backlash over Cotton’s op-ed, Weiss wrote on Twitter that a “civil war” was underway at the paper between “the (mostly young) wokes the (mostly 40+) liberals.” The comment earned her swift condemnation from other Times staffers.
In 2018, Weiss was accused of racism after she commented on U.S. Olympic skater Mirai Nagasu’s historic triple axel at the Olympics, writing in a tweet, “Immigrants. They get the job done.” Nagasu, the daughter of Japanese immigrants, became the first American woman to successfully perform the triple axel at the Olympic figure skating competition. Weiss deleted her tweet, which was also a reference to “Hamilton,” after online criticism.
The opinion editor and writer also faced harsh criticism over the opinions she expressed in several of her columns, including one in which she described meeting in person and getting along well with Vice writer Eve Peyser despite their previous Twitter spats over politics.
“Showing up for work as a centrist at an American newspaper should not require bravery,” Weiss wrote in her resignation letter.
In a statement on Weiss’s departure, acting editorial page editor Kathleen Kingsbury 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.”