Front of the NYT building in New York

NYT’s Horrible Response to Open Letter on Anti-Trans Bias Gets the Callout It Deserves

It seems as if the New York Times has decided to take a page out of J.K. Rowling’s book as they play the victim after being called out for their transphobia. A letter was written and sent to the New York Times about their anti-trans bias, signed by hundreds of Times contributors and many, many more. Currently, the letter stands with roughly 2,000 signatures and has been updated to respond to the NYT and their bogus rebuttal.

Recommended Videos

The response from the New York Times comes quickly after the organization published a defense of J.K. Rowling this morning, further proof that the news organization, which tells its contributors that their own personal bias must remain out of their work, is willing to break their own rules when it comes to reporting on transgender stories. Specific examples of anti-trans bias are well documented in the original letter from contributors, but a different letter was then delivered to the NYT by the GLAAD organization. There were two separate letters.

Now, in a memo, the New York Times said that the paper “will not tolerate, participation by Times journalists in protests organized by advocacy groups or attacks on colleagues on social media and other public forums.” And the full response from New York Times executive editor Joe Kahn is horrendous.

First, it is well within the rights of these contributors to call out the organization. Second, the last paragraph of this letter, which doesn’t sit with with me overall, is particularly infuriating.

Protecting anti-trans bias is transphobia

The problem that The New York Times claims to have with the original letter is that it cites specific examples of the anti-trans bias within the publication and cites specific writers. The New York Times response contains a note about how these authors have endured months of “attacks, harassment, and threats” because of their work. This is the same thinking that people like Rowling have and is a complete distortion of who is the victim in the situation.

The Times’ response goes on to end with a paragraph in support of the journalists that wrote the called-out articles: “We live in an era when journalists regularly come under fire for doing solid and essential work. We are committed to protecting and supporting them. Their work distinguishes this institution, and makes us proud.”

What is truly nonsense is the NYT claiming that they are committed to “covering all aspects of transgender issues” because giving a platform to transphobia under the guise of “all aspects” coverage is a coward’s move. What you’re doing is pushing a harmful narrative and letting those writers and their anti-trans bias have a spotlight. But all of this just conflates two separate letters as one.

The contributor letter has been updated with its own response

The original letter that was signed has been updated in response to this one: “We are disappointed that the New York Times chose to use their public response to Wednesday’s coalition letter from GLAAD and other organizations as an opportunity to attempt to dismiss the well-documented complaint of editorial bias detailed in our letter. Times representatives avoided addressing the substantive concerns in the letter by simply alleging that it ‘came to [them] through GLAAD.‘ However, GLAAD confirmed to us that they did not deliver a copy of our letter to the New York Times. We look forward to clarification from the Times.

“Additionally, though we coordinated timing with GLAAD, our letters are very different documents.”

What is happening, aside from is that this response conflates two separate letters and completely disregards the specific concerns brought up in the contributor letter.

Instead of taking any accountability, the New York Times took a letter from GLAAD and the contributor letter (again, two separate things) and put them into one entity to make them easier to find excuses to dismiss. This is ignoring the concerns of both parties and is just an example of the NYT playing the victim while pushing an anti-trans bias in their articles.

(featured image: Mike Coppola/Getty Images)


The Mary Sue is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more about our Affiliate Policy
Author
Image of Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.