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The New York Times, heralding itself as a bastion of liberal and inclusive social values, is facing a lawsuit against its CEO for discrimination.
A multi-million dollar class action lawsuit brought by two black female employees accuses Mark Thompson, the Times’ chief executive officer of “deplorable discrimination” based on age, race and gender, The Guardian reported.
The lawsuit was filed in New York on Thursday on behalf of Ernestine Grant, 62, and Marjorie Walker, 61, who work in the Times’ advertising department. They allege that under Thompson, the Times has “become an environment rife with discrimination.”
“Unbeknownst to the world at large, not only does the Times have an ideal customer (young, white, wealthy), but also an ideal staffer (young, white, unencumbered with a family) to draw that purported ideal customer,” the lawsuit stated, according to the Guardian. “In furtherance of these discriminatory goals, the Times has created a workplace rife with disparities.”
Walker and Grant claim that the Times’ advertising directors have become “increasingly younger and whiter” under the leadership of Thompson, who became CEO in 2012 after eight years as director-general of the BBC.
“Older advertising directors of color found themselves pushed out through buyouts, or outright terminated, but those vacancies were rapidly filled with younger, white individuals,” the lawsuit said, according to the Guardian.
They also claimed they were “denied the opportunities to earn as much as [their] younger white peers because of her race and/or gender” and were passed over for promotions despite their greater level of experience.
The Guardian reported:
“A 2014 survey by the Women’s Media Center researchers found that the Times had the least female bylines, proportionally, of the nation’s 10 largest newspapers. The study found that 69% of stories were written by men and 75% of opinion writers being male.”
The paper denied all the claims, calling them “recycled, scurrilous and unjustified attacks,” and dismissed any allegations of discrimination.
“The suit is entirely without merit and we intend to fight it vigorously in court,” said Eileen Murphy, the Times’ head of communications.
Douglas Wigdor, attorney for Walker and Grant, called out the paper for its apparent double standard.
“It is astonishing that a news organization that regularly promotes liberal social viewpoints could have a double standard when it comes to blatantly discriminating and retaliating against its own hard working and dedicated employees.”
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