The New York Times fired Quinn Norton on Tuesday, a few hours after announcing the tech journalist as a new editorial board hire, amid a firestorm over her social media posts.
The Times announced at noon PT that Norton, known for her work at Wired, would be joining the paper as the editorial board’s lead opinion writer on technology. But some six hours later, Norton had been dismissed from the paper after Twitter users immediately began highlighting her past tweets that used racial and homophobic slurs.
Many protesters seemed to seize upon a tweet from October in which she says she’s friends with Andrew Auernheimer, awho goes by the name “weev” and webmaster for The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website.
“Weev is a terrible person, & an old friend of mine. I’ve been very clear on this. Some of my friend are terrible people, & also my friends,” she said in the tweet.
Along the way, a handful of other tweets, mostly years-old, surfaced in which she repeatedly used a pejorative term for gays and retweeted a racial slur.
Her departure from the Times was announced in a statement attributed to James Bennet, the newspaper’s editorial page editor.
“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,” Bennet said in a tweet posted by the newspaper’s communications department.
Norton couldn’t immediately be reached for comment, but said in a tweet: “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.”
In a later tweet, Norton said she didn’t support Auernheimer.
Shortly after her hire was announced Tuesday, Norton wrote in a blog post that the Times employees she had interviewed with “made it clear that they weren’t going to get put off by a little weird. As for how weird, well that’s for them to discover.”
In addition to writing about tech and racism, Norton wrote about and dated Aaron Swartz, the internet activist whowhile being prosecuted under charges of illegally downloading a large number of academic papers.
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