On Wednesday, The New York Times announced that it had hired Sarah Jeong as the lead technology writer for its editorial board, saying she “has guided readers through the digital world with verve and erudition, staying ahead of every turn on the vast beat that is the internet.”
There was soon an outcry on right-wing websites over tweets Ms. Jeong wrote from 2013 to early 2015, which referred to white people with terms like “groveling goblins” and “dogs.”
On Thursday, The Times released a statement saying that it knew about the tweets before hiring Ms. Jeong, 30, and that she would stay on the editorial board.
“Her journalism and the fact that she is a young Asian woman have made her a subject of frequent online harassment,” The Times said in its statement. “For a period of time she responded to that harassment by imitating the rhetoric of her harassers. She sees now that this approach only served to feed the vitriol that we too often see on social media.”
The Times said that it did not condone Ms. Jeong’s tweets and that there had been a conversation about her social media history as part of the hiring process.
“She understands that this type of rhetoric is not acceptable at The Times, and we are confident that she will be an important voice for the editorial board moving forward,” the statement said.
Ms. Jeong previously worked at The Verge and wrote a book, “The Internet of Garbage,” which examined online harassment, the complexities of free speech online and the challenges of moderating online platforms.
Soon after The Times announced that it had hired her, screenshots of her old tweets — which, in one case, included the phrase “#CancelWhitePeople” — began circulating on Twitter. They were soon picked by right-wing websites like The Gateway Pundit, The Daily Caller and The Federalist. Ms. Jeong also received support from people who said her tweets had been taken out of context and questioned the motives behind those who had resurfaced them.
Ms. Jeong said in a statement on Twitter on Thursday that she regretted the tweets, which were “intended as satire,” and that the “comments were not aimed at a general audience.” Ms. Jeong said she understood “how hurtful these posts are out of context.”
This is the second time this year that The Times has faced a social media outcry over an addition to its editorial board.
In February, the paper announced that Quinn Norton would join the editorial board. A backlash soon occurred, prompted by some of Ms. Norton’s old tweets, which included racial slurs and referred to her friendship with Andrew Auernheimer, an internet troll who works for The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website.
Later on the day of that announcement, Ms. Norton said in a Twitter post that she would no longer be joining The Times. In that case, James Bennet, the editorial page editor, said The Times had not been aware of Ms. Norton’s offensive tweets before it hired her.
Orignially published in NYT.