President Trump isn't a big fan of the mainstream media, but he's turned a number of White House reporters who've challenged him into household names. One of those is Glenn Thrush, a New York Times reporter accused of sexual misconduct who has now been suspended by the paper. Early on Monday morning, Vox first broke the story that several women say Thrush inappropriately kissed or groped them — including, as the Times noted, the article's author. The New York Times quickly responded by saying that their star White House correspondent would be suspended while they carried out an investigation.
Thrush responded to Vox in a statement, including the following:
Over the past several years, I have responded to a succession of personal and health crises by drinking heavily. During that period, I have done things that I am ashamed of, actions that have brought great hurt to my family and friends.
He also said that he had stopped drinking, entered counseling, and would begin treatment for alcoholism. "I am working hard to repair the damage I have done," Thrush wrote. He went on to apologize:
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.
These allegations against Thrush come not long after he took a stand against harassment in journalism in a Facebook post. Vox reports that after journalist Mark Halperin had been accused of sexually harassing multiple women, Thrush defended those women on his Facebook page:
Young people who come into a newsroom deserve to be taught our trade, given our support and enlisted in our calling — not betrayed by little men who believe they are bigger than the mission.
Halperin denied the most graphic allegations made against him, but he apologized for pursuing relationships with women to whom he was senior.
Now that the allegations against Thrush have surfaced, his Facebook post about Halperin becomes that much more striking. The details of their accusers' stories are different: Halperin is accused of masturbating in front of women, groping women, and pressing his genitals into coworkers' bodies, which he denies, whereas Thrush is accused of kissing or groping women at events outside of the workplace.
However, both Halperin and Thrush are accused of using their power in the industry to essentially threaten women into silence. In Halperin's case, he allegedly did so explicitly. The women accusing Thrush, however, told Vox that his position in the industry made them unwilling to come out publicly against him for fear of hurting their own careers.
The Vox article, written by Vox editorial director Laura McGann, mixes her own personal experience with in-depth reporting surrounding Thrush's alleged history of inappropriate behavior with young female journalists. She tells her own story of when they worked together at POLITICO, claiming that he came onto her in a restaurant before she shut things down. She says that he later gossiped about the incident in the newsroom to other male journalists, but when he told the story, he switched their roles — turning her into the aggressor and him into the mature, older journalist who had reacted the "correct" way.
This gossip, McGann wrote, then followed her. "Gradually, things in the office started to change for me. Certain men in the newsroom, I thought, started to look at me differently," she said in the article. "Some of their comments seemed a bit too familiar or were outright offensive. I had a nagging sense that I just wasn't as respected as I used to be."
McGann interviewed three women for the article, and their stories follow a similar pattern to her own. They claim that they met Thrush in their early 20s, knowing that he would be a great contact; he reportedly made some sort of unwanted sexual advance, and then the women felt unable to make it into a big deal, no matter how it had affected them — Thrush was simply too good of a person to know.
The Vox article also includes a series of screenshots from text messages that Thrush reportedly exchanged with a friend of one of the women that McGann spoke to. In the text messages, the friend, also a young female journalist, said "I want to make sure you don't lure young aspiring women journalists into those situations ever again." Thrush responded by saying that he had never lured anyone into any situations, and that he was "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."
In Thrush's statement on Vox's latest allegations, he calls the incident that prompted the text exchange "a life-changing event." No matter what else comes of these allegations, his suspension from The New York Times and his new position as yet another powerful man subject to allegations of sexual harassment in 2017 mean that his life has most certainly changed.