New York Times deputy editorial page editor James Dao said in an interview with his paper that a tweet accompanying the newest allegation against Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh — characterizing sexual assault as “harmless fun” — “fell well below our standards.”
“The department is reviewing with everyone involved — including me — what went wrong to determine how we can avoid similar mistakes,” he added.
According to Politico, reporter Robin Pogrebin, one of the authors of the excerpted book that first surfaced the allegation, wrote the tweet, which should have been vetted.
Dao conducted the interview to answer questions about the allegation that was published this weekend in the opinion section of the paper.
The combination of the tweet, a late-added editor’s note clarifying that the alleged victim does not recall the incident and its publication in the opinion, not news, section of the paper has whipped up criticism on both sides of the aisle.
The allegation, brought by a witness, depicts Kavanaugh thrusting his penis into the hand of a female Yale classmate at a party.
Despite the controversy around the Times’ handling of the accusation, the episode tracks closely enough to another brought by Yale alumna Deborah Ramirez as to incite renewed calls for scrutiny and even impeachment. Kavanaugh has also, most famously, been accused of attempted sexual assault by professor Christine Blasey Ford.