A couple of days after Sarah Jeong appeared to encourage NY Times readers to cancel their subscriptions, CNN is reporting that Jeong is not longer employed by the NY Times editorial board. According to the Times, Jeong made the decision to leave in August:
Oliver Darcy emails: Sarah Jeong is no longer a member of the NYT editorial board. A spokesperson for NYT told me Jeong is no longer an employee, but has shifted to being a contracted contributor for NYT Opinion. “Sarah decided to leave the editorial board in August,” said Kate Kingsbury, deputy editorial page editor, “but we’re glad to still have her journalism and insights around technology in our pages through her work as a contributor.”
In an emailed statement, Jeong said the change in role will allow her to “go back to reporting and writing long features while still being involved with NYT Opinion section on tech issues.” Jeong added, “The decision was hard because of the many wonderful colleagues I would have to leave behind, but I made the change so I can work on what I want to work on in the immediate moment.”
If that timeline is accurate, then the comments Jeong made on Twitter a couple of days ago about canceling subscriptions didn’t prompt her firing but may have included a reference to her freedom to say whatever she wants. Jeong was reacting to a surge of cancellations after the Times published details about the whistleblower who is the focus of Democrats’ current impeachment push:
I’ve eschewed children and a mortgage exactly so I can have the freedom to follow my conscience. I will not dissuade anyone else from following their conscience as well.
— sarah jeong (@sarahjeong) September 27, 2019
I guess another thing Jeong has eschewed is a job at the NY Times editorial board. She must have a really high opinion of her own work to think it’s so important that she can’t buy a house or start a family. I mean, there may be some people whose work is too important for any compromise or distraction, I just wouldn’t have put her in that category. She’s basically a writer with an opinion about social media (she thinks it’s bad). For the record, Jeong claims she wasn’t encouraging people to cancel subscriptions in those tweets:
Jeong said it was not a “call to unsubscribe.” She told me, “I’m just weary of having my name and my work invoked as a reason to not boycott. A lot of people have done and continue to do great work at the Times. But if a reader has real, good-faith objections to certain editorial decisions, the fact that the paper has done great work doesn’t negate those objections.”
That sounds like to me she’s encouraging people to cancel or at least not to not cancel on her account.
Jeong has been controversial since she was hired last year. Even a surprising number of NY Times readers thought her anti-white people tweets should have disqualified from a position on the editorial board. I suspect there’s a lot more to this story but we won’t be hearing it until Jeong writes her memoirs.