Just before 3 p.m. on Tuesday, The New York Times announced that the editorial board had hired a new columnist to join the ranks of its Opinion section. A little more than seven hours later, she was let go. That columnist is the writer Quinn Norton and the reason for her incredibly brief stay with the Gray Lady — she hadn’t even authored her first column yet — is some controversial remarks she’d made in years past (where else?) on Twitter.
After news of Norton’s hiring was announced (“We’re excited to have Quinn,” the editorial board declared) observers on social media were decidedly less enthusiastic about the hiring and began calling attention to some past statements Norton had made in which she used used slurs to refer to gay people and confessed to being friends with “various neo-Nazis.”
The following is attributable to James Bennet, editorial page editor, The New York Times:
"Despite our review of Quinn Norton’s work and our conversations with her previous employers, this was new information to us. Based on it, we’ve decided to go our separate ways." pic.twitter.com/ZtQnq0MLF8
— The New York Times Communications (@NYTimesPR) February 14, 2018
One example that readers pointed out was a 2013 tweet directed at another user that, according to BuzzFeed News, read, “You are laying waste to your own fucking ideals, you shit eating hypersensitive little crybaby fag.” Norton followed that missive up with, “Here’s the deal, faggot. Free speech comes with responsibility. not legal, but human. grown up. you can do this.”
In 2014, Norton wrote on Twitter, “I have been friends with various neo-Nazis in my time, yes. I have never agreed with them, and I have been clear on that.”
As her past remarks spread on social media, outrage surrounding her hiring grew and the Times editorial board said it was reexamining the decision to hire her. Just after 10 p.m. Eastern time, the Times announced the editorial board and Norton had “decided to go our separate ways.”
If anyone saw this coming, it was Norton, who wrote that when she was initially approached about a job with the Times, she “gently shot down” the idea, adding that “I tried to imply, strongly, I’m kind of weird.”
Say what you will about Norton, she’s nothing if not self-aware. But Tuesday night, she struck a more conciliatory tone. “No harm no foul,” she wrote on Twitter. “I’m sorry I can’t do the work I wanted to do with them. I wish there had been a way, but ultimately, they need to feel safe with how the net will react to their opinion writers.”
As I said so many times to the @nytimes, no harm no foul. I'm sorry I can't do the work I wanted to do with them. I wish there had been a way, but ultimately, they need to feel safe with how the net will react to their opinion writers.
— Well that was fun. (@quinnnorton) February 14, 2018
Read the full story at BuzzFeed News.