The New York Times said Tuesday that one of its top Washington, DC, editors was demoted after a pair of tweets critics called racist.
Jonathan Weisman, the deputy Washington editor, was disciplined after a pair of incidents in which he sparked controversy on Twitter, demonstrating “lapses in judgment,” a spokeswoman for the paper said.
“Jonathan Weisman met with [Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet] today and apologized for his recent serious lapses in judgment. As a consequence of his actions, he has been demoted and will no longer be overseeing the team that covers Congress or be active on social media,” the Times said in a statement.
Weisman faced harsh criticism for his recent behavior on social media.
In July, he deleted a tweet after suggesting that Democratic Reps. Rashida Tlaib, of Michigan, and Ilhan Omar, of Minnesota, weren’t really from the Midwest.
He also bizarrely claimed that Rep. John Lewis, of Georgia, a respected veteran of the civil rights movement, was not really from the deep South — even though he was born in Alabama.
Critics called both tweets racist.
And last week, Weisman tweeted that the group Justice Democrats was backing a candidate who was “seeking to unseat an African-American Democrat” — even though the candidate he referred to was also black.
Roxane Gay, a writer who pens op-ed columns for The Times, lambasted Weisman for the tweet — prompting a strange response.
Gay said Weisman emailed her, her assistant and her book publisher saying she owed him an “enormous apology,” according to the cable network.
Gay reacted to the emails from Weisman saying she was “legitimately shocked.”
A spokesman for The Times said after the incident that Weisman had “repeatedly displayed poor judgement on social media and in responding to criticism.”
Baquet told CNN Tuesday afternoon that he hosted an employee town hall on Monday because of Weisman’s behavior on social media, as well as a favorable headline about President Trump’s response to two mass shootings last week that sparked outrage and was later changed.
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