Boston.com Editor Demoted After Harvard Professor’s $4 Rant Goes Viral

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Last week, Boston.com’s story on a Harvard Business School professor who waged war on a local Chinese restaurant because of a $4 overcharge went viral.

So the website followed up with more juicy scoops. It reported the professor, Ben Edelman, had previously berated management at another sushi bar. In another article, it reported the professor escalated his campaign against the restaurant with an email that contained a racial slur. But Edelman denied writing the racially charged email, and the website took down the story because it couldn’t verify that he was the sender.

Now it appears Boston.com is taking the editor who wrote the articles, Hilary Sargent, down a peg as well.

Local news site BostInno reported Thursday that the website was poised to announce it would replace Sargent as editor and shift her over to a senior writer role, citing anonymous sources.

Reached for comment, a spokeswoman for Boston Globe Media Partners provided TPM with a statement from Corey Gottlieb, Boston.com’s general manager.

“As a policy, we do not publicly comment about personnel matters,” Gottlieb said.

Sargent also declined to comment to TPM.

The editor had been suspended since Friday for creating and promoting a T-shirt that mocked the Harvard professor, according to the Boston Globe. (The two entities are owned by the same company, but maintain separate newsroom staffs.)

Sargent designed a shirt that read “Didn’t go to HBS. Also didn’t lose my shit over FOUR dollars” and promoted it on Twitter, according to BostInno. Both the tweet and the T-shirt for sale on Zazzle.com were later removed.

The T-shirt was the rationale for the suspension, Gottlieb told the Globe at the time. He told the newspaper that the matter of the unconfirmed story had been “handled internally.”

Eleanor Cleverly, the site’s classifieds editor, is slated to replace Sargent in the interim, according to BostInno’s report.

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