‘Bari Weiss’s letter was tame,’ a New York Times insider tells me. ‘She could have named names. She could have said, “There are dozens of other instances of bullying and harassment.” Because there are.’
What took Weiss so long? Prominent writers at the Times never accepted her as a colleague. Instead, her colleagues on the opinion page sniped and leaked against her on Twitter from the first. Was it ‘tall poppy syndrome’ – resentment of a young writer who, in an era when legacy media seem to be in perpetual crisis, landed a plum job at the Times? Or, as Weiss implies in her resignation letter, was it something nastier than mere jealousy – an ethical and legal failure that my source calls a ‘hostile workplace culture’?
The resignation letter she released on Tuesday alleges that Weiss, a liberal centrist who happens also to be a prominent Jewish supporter of Israel, has been called a ‘racist and Nazi’ in her place of work and on Slack social media channels on which senior Times management are regular presences. She also says that the Times’s publisher, A.G. Sulzberger, and ‘other Times leaders’ have ‘stood by while simultaneously praising me in private for my courage’. Her letter is restrained, but still, what my source calls ‘the actual horror of her daily life at her job’ still comes across.