In an expose about the inner workings of debate among New York Times staff over the apparent forced resignation of science writer Donald McNeil Jr., it was revealed that 1619 Project founder Nikole Hannah-Jones doxed the reporter who covered the story for the Washington Free Beacon.
Hannah-Jones felt empowered to punish Aaron Siribarium for having the audacity to ask her a question about her use of a racial slur, the same usage of which got her colleague ousted from the paper.
Aaron Sibarium, who wrote the article, asked Hannah-Jones about the incident that led to McNeil's ouster from the paper. That incident, according to Sibarium, went something like this: Some years ago, McNeil chaperoned a science trip for teens to Peru.
During a frank exchange, a student asked McNeil if a student should be suspended for using the racial epithet known as the "n-word." In addressing the question, McNeil repeated the term. This was drudged up by the Daily Beast only recently, which led directly to McNeil's departure from the paper.
Executive editor Dean Baquet was reported to have sent an email to staff explaining the rationale behind McNeil's forced resignation, saying plainly that "We do not tolerate racist language regardless of intent."
It was about this statement, as regards her own use of the term, that Sirbarium asked Hannah-Jones about.
Siribarium's basis for the question to Hannah-Jones was whether she agreed with Baquet, noting that Hannah-Jones had herself used the "n-word" in a Twitter exchange in 2016. In response to a Washington Post article about what is clearly some inside baseball, Hannah-Jones wrote: "Larry Wilmore did not say, "You did it, my [n***er]." Come on, now."
Hannah Jones was referencing Larry Wilmore's routine at the White House Correspondents' Dinner with then President Barack Obama. In a follow-up, she wrote that there was a "linguistic difference" between what Wilmore said, a word which ends with an "a," and what he was accused of saying, the slur which ends in an "er." Presumably, the former is a more colloquial, jovial term while the latter should get a journalist fired for the New York Times even for just saying it once.
Hannah-Jones said it two times, on the same day, in 2016. If as Baquet said "intent doesn't matter," then Hannah-Jones should undoubtedly be up next for recommended resignation.
Siribarium asked Hannah-Jones about Baquet and her May 2, 2016 use of the offending "n-word." Instead of engaging in the question with Siribarium, Hannah-Jones punished him publicly.
Siribarium asked Hannah-Jones if, as Baquet said, intent was irrelevant in the case of her use of the unsavory word. He writes that "The Washington Free Beacon asked Hannah-Jones whether intent made a difference in her case. She responded by posting this reporter's inquiry, including his cell phone number, on Twitter, in direct violation of the website's terms of service."
Hannah-Jones later deleted the tweet.
It is as yet unclear as to whether Hannah-Jones thinks she should be let go from her Times post for doing the very thing McNeil was let go for: repeating a slur that another previously used in the context of an intellectual conversation about the use of the term itself.
Sibarium posted on Twitter Monday night that Hannah Jones' tweet had been removed and that "it was more annoying than alarming. Some nasty voice messages but nothing serious."