New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet dismissed speculation that sexism played a role in his predecessor Jill Abramson’s abrupt dismissal from the newspaper earlier this month.
Baquet spoke with NPR’s David Folkenflik about the dustup in an interview published Thursday, his first since replacing Abramson.
“I do not believe, by the way, that Jill was fired because of gender,” Baquet told NPR.
Some of the initial reporting about Abramson’s ouster focused on the fact that she had approached management about being compensated less than her male predecessors. The fact that Abramson was characterized by some at the Times as “pushy” or “brusque,” characterizations that have a gendered aspect, also fueled speculation that sexism was a factor in her dismissal.
Instead, Baquet said, Abramson’s tense relationships with management did her in.
“It’s hard to run an organization if you are at odds with the publisher, with your leadership team, including your number two,” he said. “Obviously, there was a significant disagreement between Jill and the publisher, and Jill and me.”
Baquet did acknowledge that he approached the newspaper’s publisher, Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., about his concerns with Abramson’s decision to bring on another chief deputy. But he denied a report that said he gave Sulzberger an ultimatum.
“I never said to anyone it’s me or Jill. I think that’s a simplistic calculation,” he told NPR. “I don’t think there’s any question that I made it known that I was a little unhappy.”
Read the rest of the interview here.