Bari Weiss, a writer and editor for the opinion department of The New York Times, has resigned from the paper, citing “bullying by colleagues” and an “illiberal environment.”
In a nearly 1,500-word letter addressed to A.G. Sulzberger, the publisher, Weiss offered a deep critique of Times employees and company leadership, describing a “hostile work environment” where co-workers had insulted her or called for her removal on Twitter and in the inter-office communications app Slack.
“I do not understand how you have allowed this kind of behaviour to go on inside your company in full view of the paper’s entire staff and the public,” she wrote.
Sulzberger declined to comment. In a statement, Eileen Murphy, a Times spokeswoman, said, “We’re committed to fostering an environment of honest, searching and empathetic dialogue between colleagues, one where mutual respect is required of all.”
After working at The Wall Street Journal and Tablet, an online magazine of Jewish culture and politics, Weiss joined The Times as an op-ed staff editor and writer in 2017 as part of the paper’s effort to broaden the ideological range of its opinion staff after U.S. President Donald Trump’s inauguration.
Weiss, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment, has been known to question aspects of social justice movements that have taken root in recent years. She was critical of a woman who described an uncomfortable encounter with comedian Aziz Ansari and questioned whether the sexual assault charges levelled against Supreme Court justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh should disqualify him from the post.
She was also criticized for a tweet suggesting that the California-born U.S. Olympic figure skating competitor Mirai Nagasu was an immigrant. (Weiss said in a later tweet that she knew Nagasu was a daughter of immigrants.)
In 2018 she wrote on the massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue, where she became a bat mitzvah, in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighbourhood. The murder of 11 Jews led her to write the book “How to Fight Anti-Semitism,” which won the 2019 National Jewish Book Award.
Weiss recently came under fire for online comments on the staff unrest that followed the publication of a Times op-ed piece by Sen. Tom Cotton calling for a military response to civic unrest in American cities during the widespread protests against racism and police violence.
More than 1,000 Times staff members signed a letter protesting the op-ed’s publication, and James Bennet, the editorial page editor, resigned days after it was published. An editor’s’ note was added to the essay, saying it “fell short of our standards and should not have been published.”
In a tweet, Weiss described the turmoil inside the paper as a “civil war” between “the (mostly young) wokes” and “the (mostly 40+) liberals.” Many staff members objected on Twitter to her comment, saying it was inaccurate or misrepresented their concerns.
In her resignation letter, which was posted on her personal website Tuesday, Weiss said “intellectual curiosity” was “now a liability at The Times.” She added: “Twitter is not on the masthead of The New York Times. But Twitter has become its ultimate editor.”
Kathleen Kingsbury, the acting editorial page editor, said, “We appreciate the many contributions that Bari made to Times Opinion. I’m personally committed to ensuring that The Times continues to publish voices, experiences and viewpoints from across the political spectrum in the Opinion report.”