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November 20, 2017

New York Times Suspends Glenn "Thumb Fedora" Thrush Over Sexual Misconduct Claims

Ladies, stay away from Fedora Tippers.

The New York Times said on Monday that it was suspending Glenn Thrush, one of its most prominent reporters, after he was accused of sexually inappropriate behavior.


"The behavior attributed to Glenn in this Vox story is very concerning and not in keeping with the standards and values of The New York Times," The Times said in a statement on Monday. "We intend to fully investigate and while we do, Glenn will be suspended."

The Times also said Mr. Thrush had said he planned to enter a substance abuse program and that the newspaper supported his decision.

The substance he's been abusing? The most addictive drug in the world -- mish.

Here's the Vox story accusing him of "luring" young female reporters into private tete-a-tetes and then turning the meeting in a sexual direction.

A friend of the woman confronted him in a text, demanding he never "lure" women into such a situation again.

Those texts are here.

Thrush was apologetic but defensive.

"I don't lure anybody ever," he wrote, according to screenshots provided by Padro Ocasio. "I got drunk because I got some shitty health news. And I am acutely aware of the hurdles that young women face in this business and have spent the better part of 20 years advocating for women journalists."

I love that their go-to defense is always "I tell other men not to do the things I do."

If Thrush is acutely aware of what young women face in the business of political journalism, he should also know itís because he himself is one of the problems women face. Five years ago, when Thrush and I were colleagues at Politico, I was in the same bar as Padro Ocasio's friend -- perhaps the same booth -- when he caught me off guard, put his hand on my thigh, and suddenly started kissing me. Thrush says that he recalls the incident differently.

Three young women I interviewed, including the young woman who met Thrush in June, described to me a range of similar experiences, from unwanted groping and kissing to wet kisses out of nowhere to hazy sexual encounters that played out under the influence of alcohol. Each woman described feeling differently about these experiences: scared, violated, ashamed, weirded out. I was -- and am -- angry.

Details of their stories suggest a pattern. All of the women were in their 20s at the time. They were relatively early in their careers compared to Thrush, who was the kind of seasoned journalist who would be good to know. At an event with alcohol, he made advances. Afterward, they (as I did) thought it best to stay on good terms with Thrush, whatever their feelings.

"I apologize to any woman who felt uncomfortable in my presence, and for any situation where I behaved inappropriately. Any behavior that makes a woman feel disrespected or uncomfortable is unacceptable," Thrush said in a statement emailed to me on November 19.

This seems to be yet another I Admit Nothing But Apologize For Everything statement of the kind we're growing so familiar with, though at least he does suggest that maybe he behaved "inappropriately." But that's pretty vague, isn't it? By design, I'd imagine.


It wasn't that Thrush was offering young women a quid pro quo deal, such as sex in exchange for mentorship. Thrush, just by his stature, put women in a position of feeling they had to suck up and move on from an uncomfortable encounter.

On that night five years ago, I joined Thrush and a handful of other reporters for a few rounds at the Continental, a Politico hangout in Rosslyn, Virginia. At first, nothing seemed strange, until the crowd had dwindled down to Thrush, me, and one other female colleague.

Thrush tossed a $20 bill at her and told her to take a cab and leave us, "the grown-ups," alone. He slid into my side of the booth, blocking me in. I was wearing a skirt, and he put his hand on my thigh. He started kissing me. I pulled myself together and got out of there, shoving him on my way out.

In the morning, Thrush sent me an apologetic email. I didn't save it, but I recall it as similar to the one he would later send to Padro Ocasio's friend in June. He said he was sorry, but he didn't say for what, exactly.

Ah there you go: I Admit Nothing But Apologize for Everything.

She says Glenn Thrush began spreading the rumor that she had come on to him, and says she heard from other women that he pulled the same crap with them. (See article for that.)

The writer details a couple of other stories which are more ambiguous and scandalous than actionable or criminal. But together, taken as true, they present a guy with a problem, and his problem makes problems for women.

She mentions that some women spread rumors/warnings to never attend an event with Thrush where drinking was involved, and to ignore his private Direct Messages on Twitter. Coincidentally -- or not -- Thrush stopped tweeting on September 19th, exactly a month two months (for those who can count, a category that does not include myself) before the November 19th statement he made to this writer. One wonders if she had been using twitter as a means of asking questions before he shut it down.

Some of this is... I don't want to say defensible, but let me say this: Many people, when meeting and trying to make a good impression, have a self-interested reason for being friendly. They want to "network," they want to make a good impression on someone who can do them career favors. And sometimes they want to get laid.

I don't think it's fair that two people can have different motives for pretending to be interested in each other -- one for careerist reasons, the other for sexual reasons -- and say "Oh the latter self-interested reason is bad."

Someone using someone for one selfish reason (help me get ahead in my career) can't be that surprised that the person they're trying to use is also trying to use them (help me feel like I'm the sort of man women desire).

And without a direct chain-of-command type situation, where the women he's kissing up on are his actual underlings who he can promote or frustrate in their careers at his whim, I don't know if we can go around criminalizing men's advances to women. Even if those men are married, and even if they look like Glenn Thrush.

That said, some of this stuff, if true, does seem to cross the line. Alcohol, I guess, is being offered as an affirmative defense here, and yeah, people make bad decisions when drunk, and tend to miss subtle nonverbal hints like "This woman is totally turned off by me and almost cringes at my advance."

Still, after a couple of times of being told "You get out of control with women seeking career help," maybe pull a Franken and "reflect" with your family a bit?

And what the hell's with the "she came on to me" bullshit? Not a crime -- but it seems so pathetic as to verge on pathological.

If true, of course.

In any event, this is the sort of thing Glenn Thrush must be talking about when he claims he's "championing" women in the workplace.

By the Way: I tried to link this meme in the last post, but I glitched it. Here's hoping it works the second time.

PS, I wanted to mix in a non-sex-harassment post between the last one but everyone keeps talking about this Ovoid Thumb so I figured, let's get it out of the way.

digg this
posted by Ace at 04:10 PM

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