Two out journalists who’ve often attracted controversy are leaving their posts.
New York Times opinion writer Bari Weiss resigned this week, and New York magazine columnist and blogger Andrew Sullivan announced that Friday will be his last day in that position.
In a resignation letter posted on her website Monday, Weiss said the Times has become an “illiberal environment,” intolerant of anything that doesn’t fit a left-wing “orthodoxy.” Twitter has become the paper’s “ultimate editor,” she wrote, adding that she has encountered hostility within the Times as well as on social media.
“My own forays into Wrongthink have made me the subject of constant bullying by colleagues who disagree with my views,” she wrote. “They have called me a Nazi and a racist; I have learned to brush off comments about how I’m ‘writing about the Jews again.’ Several colleagues perceived to be friendly with me were badgered by coworkers.”
Weiss, who has been at the Times since 2017, has described her ideology as centrist liberal. She has had relationships with both men and women — including Saturday Night Live star Kate McKinnon — but declines to label her sexuality.
Her controversial columns have included one on the limits of the #MeToo movement and one defending entertainers who were criticized for cultural appropriation, The Washington Post notes. She has received negative comments for some of her opinions but also for errors, such as citing a hoax Twitter account to make a point about leftist suppression of speech and calling an Asian-American figure skater an immigrant when the skater was born in California.
Sullivan, a gay man who was once editor of The New Republic and went on to found The Daily Dish, announced Tuesday via Twitter that he was leaving New York. He did not specify why but said, “The underlying reasons for the split are pretty self-evident, and I’ll be discussing the broader questions involved in my last column this Friday.” He also promised “exciting news” Friday. His editor in chief, David Haskell, wrote in a memo to staff that the parting was mutual, CNN Business reports.
Sullivan has made some controversial moves during his career. While at The New Republic, he drew criticism for publishing excerpts from The Bell Curve, “a book that argues there are IQ score differentials among racial groups that can be explained by genetics,” as CNN puts it. He has defended that decision through the years.
Last year, Sullivan wrote a highly dubious column for New York, where he insinuated “woke” activists were somehow convincing children to be transgender; many trans people were repelled by his words.
Sullivan, who has been an Advocate contributor at various times, has been mostly but not always conservative. For instance, he has praised President Barack Obama and denounced Donald Trump.
Haskell did allude to ideological differences with Sullivan in the memo. “I am trying hard to create in this magazine a civil, respectful, intellectually honest space for political debate,” Haskell wrote, according to CNN. “I believe there is a way to write from a conservative perspective about some of the most politically charged subjects of American life while still upholding our values. I also think that our magazine in particular has an opportunity to be a place where the liberal project is hashed out, which is to say not only championed but also interrogated.”