Ezra Klein Says He ‘Could’ve, And Should’ve’ Handled New Hire Better

March 14, 2014 12:18 p.m.

Ezra Klein continued his damage control on Friday with a personal plea that aimed to tamp down the firestorm surrounding one of his latest hires.

In a post on his Facebook page, Klein addressed the controversy that’s swirled around Brandon Ambrosino, the 23-year-old openly gay writer who landed a fellowship at the fledgling Vox.com.

Ambrosino’s previous work has drawn intense scrutiny, with critics asserting that he’s been unfair to the LGBT community. But Klein made it clear that Ambrosino wasn’t brought on board to cover that issue.

“Brandon isn’t our LGBT correspondent. He’s not even the only LGBT employee of Vox.com,” Klein wrote. “He is a young writer who we think has talent who’s going to receive a lot of editing and a lot of guidance.”

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In an interview with The American Prospect earlier this week, Klein said he hadn’t read Ambrosino’s pieces that were lambasted by the likes of Media Matters and Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern prior to making the hire.

Those pieces included a retrospective on Ambrosino’s time at the Jerry Falwell-founded Liberty University and a defense of “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson.

On Facebook, Klein pushed back on the notion that he wasn’t familiar with Ambrosino’s work, but acknowledged that some of the young writer’s previous pieces have no place at Vox.

“Contrary to some garbled reports, before hiring Brandon I read a lot of his previous work,” Klein wrote. “Brandon’s past writing was often quite pointed and personal, and not a fit for Vox — and I told him so. The writing fellowship requires a very different approach.”

Klein closed the post with a show of contrition, and urged readers to give Ambrosino an opportunity to prove himself.

“I could’ve, and should’ve, handled this hire a lot better,” Klein wrote. “But I would ask people to give Brandon a chance. He’ll be held to the same high standards as all Vox.com employees, and I believe he’ll meet them.”

Ambrosino has not responded to TPM’s multiple requests for comment.

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