Sam Stein

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  • Falafelgate 2? Shockingly Racy Lawsuit Rocks Murdoch's New York Post

    Blog ››› ››› KARL FRISCH

    Huffington Post's Sam Stein reports (emphasis added):

    The New York Post editor fired after speaking out against a cartoon depicting the author of the president's stimulus package as a dead chimpanzee has sued the paper. And as part of her complaint, Sandra Guzman levels some remarkable, embarrassing, and potentially damaging allegations.

    Guzman has filed a complaint against News Corporation, the New York Post and the paper's editor in chief Col Allan in the Southern District Court of New York, alleging harassment as well as "unlawful employment practices and retaliation."

    As part of the 38-page complaint, Guzman paints the Post newsroom as a male-dominated frat house and Allan in particular as sexist, offensive and domineering. Guzman alleges that she and others were routinely subjugated to misogynistic behavior. She says that hiring practices at the paper -- as well as her firing -- were driven by racial prejudices rather than merit.

    And she recounts the paper's D.C. bureau chief stating that the publication's goal was to "destroy [President] Barack Obama."

    The most outrageous charges, however, involve Allan. According to the complaint:

    "On one occasion when Ms. Guzman and three female employees of the Post were sharing drinks at an after-work function. Defendant Allan approached the group of women, pulled out his blackberry and asked them 'What do you think of this?' On his blackberry was a picture of a naked man lewdly and openly displaying his penis. When Ms. Guzman and the other female employees expressed their shock and disgust at being made to view the picture, Defendant Allan just smirked... [N]o investigation was ever conducted and the Company failed to take any steps to address her complaints."

    Guzman's complaint goes on:

    "On another occasion, upon information and belief, Defendant Allan approached a female employee during a party at the Post, rubbed his penis up against her and made sexually suggestive comments about her body, including her breasts, causing that female employee to feel extremely uncomfortable and fearing to be alone with him."

    And finally: "... [W]hile serving as the top editor at the Post, Defendant Allan took two Australian political leaders to the strip club Scores in Manhattan..."

    Guzman alleges that while at the paper, misogynistic and racist behavior was directed at her specifically. According to the complaint, she was called "sexy" and "beautiful" and referred to as "Cha Cha #1" by Les Goodstein, the senior vice president of NewsCorp. After doing an interview with Major League Baseball star Pedro Martinez, she says Allan asked her whether the pitcher "had been carrying a gun or a machete during the interview" -- a line Guzman said was racist and offensive.

    When she would walk by certain offices at the paper, Guzman alleges, editors would routinely sing songs from West Side Story -- a nod to her Hispanic heritage -- including the tune: "I want to live in America."

    Guzman also makes the following allegations to supplement her case that the Post harbored an environment that was offensive to women and minority employees.

    "A White male senior editor sexually propositioned a young female Copy Assistant, telling her that 'If you give me a blowjob, I will give you a permanent reporter job.'"

    "The last five employees who were recently terminated by Paul Carlucci, the Publisher of the Post.... Have all been black and/or women of color."

    Read Stein's entire piece and the compliant in full here.

    Politico's Ben Smith picks up an interesting angle to the story:

    The New York Post and New York Daily News, for a time, complemented their fierce competition for circulation with bitter attacks on each other's staff and on their owners, Rupert Murdoch and Mort Zuckerman.

    But Murdoch and Zuckerman, as has been reported, reached a truce of sorts, and they've been reported to be in sporadic talks about some sort of merger of -- at least -- the paper's back ends. And the clearest signal I've seen in a while of that rapprochement came this week, when a fired Post employee, Sandra Guzman, filed suit against the paper and its brawling Australian editor, Col Allan.

    The Daily News offered a sanitized version of the story: "A New York Post editor sacked after complaining that a cartoon likened President Obama to a monkey sued the paper on Monday, claiming rampant racism and sexism in the newsroom," but detailed none of the actual allegations.

  • HuffPo: NY Post Fires Editor Critical Of Racist Obama-Stimulus Cartoon

    Blog ››› ››› KARL FRISCH

    The Huffington Post's Sam Stein reported this afternoon that the New York Post has confirmed that an "editor who spoke out against a controversial cartoon the paper ran comparing the author of the president's stimulus package to a dead chimpanzee has been fired from her job."

    More from Stein's report:

    Sandra Guzman was quietly dismissed from her position as associate editor last week for reasons that are being hotly debated by personnel inside the company. An official statement from the New York Post, provided to the Huffington Post, said that her job was terminated once the paper ended the section she was editing.

    "Sandra is no longer with The Post because the monthly in-paper insert, Tempo, of which she was the editor, has been discontinued."

    Employees at the paper -- which is one of media mogul's Rupert Murdoch's crown jewels -- said the firing, which took place last Tuesday, seemed retributive.

    Guzman was the most high-profile Post employee to publicly speak out against a cartoon that likened the author of the stimulus bill (whom nearly everyone associated with President Barack Obama) with a rabid primate. Drawn by famed cartoonist Sean Delonas, the illustration pictured two befuddled policeman -- having just shot the chimp twice in the chest -- saying: "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill."

    "I neither commissioned or approved it," Guzman wrote to a list of journalist colleagues shortly thereafter. "I saw it in the paper yesterday with the rest of the world. And, I have raised my objections to management."

    The remark from Guzman was a rare instance of dissension within the halls of the paper making its way into the public domain. And sources at the Post now say it cost her a job.