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New York Times demotes editor who sparked fury

Updated 5:37 PM ET, Tue August 13, 2019

New York (CNN Business) - Jonathan Weisman, the deputy Washington editor for The New York Times, has been demoted after a pair of incidents in which he ignited controversy on Twitter, the newspaper said Tuesday.

"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. We don't typically discuss personnel matters but we're doing so in this instance with Jonathan's knowledge," a Times spokesperson said in a statement.

Over the last few weeks, Weisman had faced a barrage of criticism for his behavior on social media.

In late July, Weisman deleted a tweet amid outrage after he suggested Democratic Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar were not truly from the Midwest and their colleague Rep. John Lewis, a prominent figure in the civil rights movement, was not from the Deep South. The tweets were widely viewed as racist.

Last week, Weisman tweeted that the Justice Democrats were backing a candidate "seeking to unseat an African-American Democrat." Weisman seemingly failed to realize the candidate in question was black.

Shortly after, Roxane Gay, an author who occasionally writes op-ed pieces for The Times, mocked Weisman for the tweet.

According to Gay, Weisman emailed her, her assistant and her book publisher saying she owed him an "enormous apology."

Gay reacted to the emails from Weisman saying she was "legitimately shocked."

A spokesperson for The Times said after the incident that Weisman had "repeatedly displayed poor judgement on social media and in responding to criticism."

"We're closely examining what to do about it," the Times spokesperson said.

Internally, people inside The Times were alarmed at the behavior Weisman has displayed on social media, people familiar with the matter told CNN.

"The people in Washington work so hard," one reporter for The Times told CNN. "[Weisman's tweets] just take away from all the hard work people have done."

Baquet told CNN Business in a phone interview Tuesday afternoon that he decided to host an employee town hall on Monday in part because of Weisman's recent behavior on social media.

"The Weisman tweet, the collective Weisman, as well as the headline," Baquet said of his reasons for holding the town hall, referring to a controversial front page headline The Times changed last week after backlash.


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