November 27, 2022
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New Yorker archivist fired after accusing editor-in-chief David Remnick of inserting errors into her work

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A staffer at The New Yorker has claimed she was fired by the magazine after she raised concerns that the publication’s workforce suffered from a lack of diversity and from “gender inequality.”

Erin Overbey, an archive editor at the Condé Nast-owned weekly, posted a lengthy Twitter thread on Monday in which she vowed to file a grievance with the union.

She claims that she was scapegoated by the magazine’s editors who blamed her for an error that was inserted into the copy of an article by David Remnick, the publication’s editor in chief.

But a source with knowledge of the situation told The Post that Overbey was fired for a “pattern of conduct” that was deemed “disruptive to the operation of the Company” and which “undermines the journalistic ethics of our magazine.”

The Post has also learned that Overbey was disciplined for “self-plagiarism” — or copying and pasting work that had already been published by the magazine and reusing it word for word while presenting it as fresh.

Overbey responded by saying that The New Yorker’s claims are “completely absurd.”

She told The Post via email that the magazine was using the allegations of self-plagiarism and being “disruptive” because “they do seem awfully eager to change the subject from me being reprimanded for errors that Remnick added to copy I was responsible for.”

“Condé Nast itself gave me an award for outstanding achievement & this allegation of ‘poor performance’ they’re claiming (the ludicrous nature of which I described in my thread last week) only came about AFTER I started pressing on diversity & gender inequality at the magazine,” Overbey wrote in an email to The Post.

“I began writing the thread in July; I have documentation to prove it. If the company deems me ‘disruptive’ for bringing up issues of diversity & gender, then that’s their problem.”

A spokesperson for Condé Nast told The Post: “The New Yorker prides itself on professionalism, accuracy, and adherence to the highest journalistic standards.”

“False allegations that malign our journalistic integrity and that attack colleagues are inappropriate and unacceptable in our workplace,” the spokesperson added.

According to Overbey, she was “put under a performance review shortly after sending an email raising concerns about gender inequality and inclusion at the magazine.”

Overbey wrote that she sent a company-wide email on June 14 decrying the lack of diversity at The New Yorker, which she “first started tracking” back in 2019. Three days later, she said, she was “put under a performance review.”

She cited a separate Twitter thread from last year in which she called out her magazine for not publishing enough stories and articles by minority journalists.

“Does anyone know how many of the 40,000+ feature & critics pieces that the New Yorker (the print mag) has published in its 96-year existence have ever been edited by a Black editor?” she tweeted on Sept. 14, 2021.

She then listed multiple choices of “a) 6%, b) <2%, and c) <0.5%.”

Overbey then took aim at Remnick. “In the last 15 years at the @NewYorker, during the tenure of editor-in-chief David Remnick (author of a bio on Obama), less than 0.01% of print feature & critics pieces have ever been edited by a Black editor,” she tweeted.

Overbey then tweeted that the print edition has published “only 4 book reviews by African-American women.”

In the 30 years stretching from 1990 to 2020, just 3.6% of the book reviews published by the print edition were by African American critics or writers, according to Overbey.

A source at the magazine told The Post that just days before her tweet thread in September, she was given a final warning about self-plagiarism. The source said Overbey’s tweets about diversity were a foil for her poor performance.

The Post has seen a copy of Conde Nast’s termination letter to Overbey. The letter said that human resources had “repeated discussions related to performance and behavioral concerns.”

In Monday’s tweet thread, Overbey writes that the publication “never disputed the magazine’s diversity data that I presented” in September.

She also wrote that the magazine “never disputed that my two weekly archive newsletters have consistently been the top-performing newsletters at the magazine.”

“Whenever you raise concerns, criticisms, or alarms about one of the most powerful institutions in media, they will use every tool at their disposal to oppose you,” Overbey tweeted.

“That is their prerogative.”

She added: “But I will defend myself in the strongest of terms.”

Last month, the Washington Post fired one of its national political reporters, Felicia Sonmez, after she publicly lambasted the newspaper for failing to sufficiently discipline a male colleague, Dave Weigel, who retweeted a joke that was deemed “sexist.”

Weigel was suspended for a month without pay.

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