NYT Supports New Hire Sarah Jeong After Alt-Right Trolls Accuse Her of “Racist” Tweets
That's not how racism works, guys.
The alt-right has been emboldened by their successful campaign against James Gunn, after digging up his old tweets and pressuring Disney to fire him. Now, they’re coming for tech reporter Sarah Jeong, who was recently hired to join the editorial board at the New York Times.
Again, the trolls are using Jeong’s old tweets against her, but this time the story is different. Jeong is not a white man; she is an Asian woman writing about tech, which means she exists in the nexus of an ungodly amount of racism, sexism, and other hateful trolling from the Pepes of the world. Jeong’s tweets, a sampling of which can be seen below, make fun of white people and mock white male fragility:
Meet the newest member of the New York Times editorial board.
I’d say that these tweets were part of her resumè when she applied for the job. pic.twitter.com/CLgFvPeAgM
— Garbage Human 🗑 (@GarbageHuman_) August 2, 2018
Okay people, enough with the pearl-clutching. A tweet reading “#CancelWhitePeople” is hardly racist. It’s a reaction to trolling in a concise 140-tweet soundbite meant to be entertaining and cathartic. Never mind that racism does not apply to a majority group that hasn’t experienced systemic inequality and discrimination (but that’s another column for another day). What’s missing from all this conservative outrage is that these tweets are in response to relentless, actually racist trolling that Jeong receives.
And Jeong is an expert on trolling. She literally wrote the book on it, The Internet of Garbage, which was published in 2015. In response to the dredging up of her old tweets, Jeong responded by tweeting:
— sarah jeong (@sarahjeong) August 2, 2018
In her response, she says, “I engaged in what I thought of at the time as counter-trolling. While it was intended as satire, I deeply regret that I mimicked the language of my harassers.” The New York Times has also issued a statement, saying they stand by their new hire.
Our statement in response to criticism of the hiring of Sarah Jeong. pic.twitter.com/WryIgbaoqg
— NYTimes Communications (@NYTimesPR) August 2, 2018
This will certainly be the last time that Sarah Jeong trolls her harassers, although I doubt the same courtesy will be extended to her. People are debating the merits of a reputable newspaper hiring a highly qualified reporter rather than the larger issue, which is the endemic harassment and abuse that women endure online. Now that’s something worthy of outrage.
(via The Wrap, image: Twitter)
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