NY Times hires — and fires — writer with a history of using slurs online and having neo-Nazi friends

NY Times hires — and fires — writer with a history of using slurs online and having neo-Nazi friends
The New York Times hires — and fires — an editorial board writer for reported neo-Nazi ties and a history of using slurs online. (Getty Images)

Journalist Quinn Norton may have had the shortest tenure at the New York Times in the history of all new hires.

What are the details?

The Times editorial board on Tuesday announced that it had hired Norton, but just hours later, the outlet discharged Norton for reported affiliations with neo-Nazis and over a reported history of using slurs on social media.

“We’re delighted to announce that Quinn Norton has joined The New York Times editorial board as our lead opinion writer on the power, culture and consequences of technology,” a news release from the outlet read.

After the editorial board’s Twitter account shared the news, Twitter users jumped on Norton’s online history and pointed out that she’d once admitted to being friends with neo-Nazis and accused her of having a history of using both homophobic and racial slurs.

Other, more profane tweets can be viewed here, here, and here.

According to the Huffington Post, many of Norton’s tweets date back to 2014 and before.

After the tweets went viral, the Times dismissed Norton — just hours after officially, and formally, announcing her hire.

James Bennet, editorial page editor of the outlet, said in a Tuesday night statement, “Despite our review of Quinn Norton’s work and our conversations with her previous employers, this was new information to us. Based on it, we’ve decided to go our separate ways.”

What did Norton say?

Norton in a Tuesday blog post — before the news of her firing broke — wrote of her journey as a Times new hire, noting her surprise at being offered a position within the outlet.

I’m as surprised as you are. The Times approached me in January with the idea, and I gently shot it down. I live in Luxembourg, I explained. I have surgery coming up, I’ll be out of the picture for as much as two months. Also, I tried to imply, strongly, I’m kind of weird.

Norton later tweeted after the news of her firing.

“I’ve been a queer activist since 1992. But when I speak to communities, I used their language to do it. I talked about the Anonymous usage of ‘f**’ and “f****t” here,” she wrote, sourcing a 2011 article she authored.

“I only used it in the context of my work with anons,” she added. “I used it occasionally when amongst gay friends in our community. That’s not really your business, though.”

She later added, “As I said so many times to the @nytimes, no harm no foul. I’m sorry I can’t do the work I wanted to do with them. I wish there had been a way, but ultimately, they need to feel safe with how the net will react to their opinion writers.”

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