There’s been a lot of talk about the recent firing of Jill Abramson, the first female editor of the New York Times. While no specific answer has been given as to why Abramson left, many believe it’s due to the continuous clashing between her and Times’ publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr.
Now it looks like there is more to the story. According to the New Yorker’s Ken Auletta, Abramson recently complained about her pay after finding out it was significantly less than her male predecessor’s, Bill Keller. Management considered her complaining “pushy” and abrasive, saying she knew full well the paper could not afford plushy salaries, nor was she with the Times as long as Keller.
Soon enough, she was gone, and that complaint may have been what led to her very surprising firing.
If this is true, what does this say about our society, that in 2014, women are still paid significantly less than their male counterparts and will ultimately pay the price if they speak up?
Abramson has not spoken about the firing or the allegations behind the cause (although NPR has confirmed the she did in fact raise the issue of pay with management), but the New York Times has.
Spokesperson Eileen Murphy is shutting down the story, telling Politico: “Jill’s total compensation as executive editor was not less than Bill Keller’s, so that is just incorrect. Her pension benefit, like all Times employees, is based on her years of service and compensation. The pension benefit was frozen in 2009.”
Even so, the reports were enough to fuel the fury of many female journalists who feel burned by the allegations, believing a role model in their dying industry was thrown to the wolves due to her gender. Many in the industry have been tweeting continuously, and very few have anything nice to say about Sulzberger’s decision. Whether or not his reasons were valid, to many this firing looks like a modern day version of a classic case of sexism.