Arthur Sulzberger Talks Jill Abramson In 'Vanity Fair': 4 Things He Revealed About The 'NYT' Scandal


The saga of Jill Abramson's abrupt firing from The New York Times continues — and it just got juicier. After releasing a series of press statements, New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger talked Jill Abramson in a Vanity Fair interview published Tuesday morning on the magazine's website. It's the first media interview for Sulzberger since Jill Abramson's termination from one of the world's leading newspapers, which sparked controversy, outrage and a whole array of conspiracy theories among journalists, editors and other media types.

The lengthy interview goes into detail about behind-the-scenes negotiations occurring at The Times between 2011 and 2014, including Abramson butting heads with Sulzberger and Baquet over the attempted recruitment of Guardian editor Janine Gibson. Here are the four main takeaways from the interview...

1. Why Sulzberger Broke The Silence

The fallout stemming from Abramson's firing hasn't been kind to Sulzberger and The New York Times. Most of the criticisms directed at the paper claim that Sulzberger and Co. created a hostile and unequal environment for women working at the newspaper. Sulzberger wanted to rewrite that narrative, telling writer Sarah Ellison: "You know a lot of what’s out there is untrue.”

He reiterated that sentiment throughout the interview, repeatedly denouncing much of the stories circulating on the Internet: “I’m not going to let lies like this lie," he said.

And according to Ellison, it truly does seem like being labeled as a sexist employer is on Sulzberger's mind.

2. Dean Baquet Has Always Been His Top Pick

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Newly appointed executive editor Dean Baquet, who served as managing editor under Abramson, has long been Sulzberger's clear pick for the coveted top position. After Bill Keller stepped down from the executive editor position in 2011, Sulzberger admitted he had a difficult time choosing between Abramson and Baquet, who then served as assistant managing editor. However, between 2011 and 2014 it seems Sulzberger has always kept Baquet in mind:

3. There's No Such Thing As Unequal Pay (At The New York Times)

Sulzberger has been adamant over the last few days about Abramson's salary and the accusations that she was paid less than her male predecessor. Sulzberger again denied that Abramson was paid less than Keller, acknowledging that it's not always about salary when you're working in an executive position:

But because The New York Times won't release the private compensation of its employees, the whole salary conversation will remain a he-said, she-said for now.

4. Abramson Was Great, But...

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The assertions that Abramson was too "difficult" or "pushy" ruffled the feathers of many who see Abramson as an inspiration and role model. Sulzberger stayed away from making any of these remarks, admitting that the newspaper soared while under Abramson's leadership.

But not for long, apparently. According to Sulzberger, Abramson alienated her colleagues on the masthead —reaffirming the narrative that she was too aloof and brusque to be in charge: