New York Times suspends top White House reporter amid investigation into sexual harassment allegations
- The New York Times has suspended White House correspondent Glenn Thrush while it investigates several sexual misconduct allegations that have been brought against him.
- Several women told Vox that Thrush acted inappropriately with them when they were in their 20s and were relatively inexperienced journalists, and while he was an influential Washington reporter.
- Thrush has acknowledged the encounters but claims they were consensual.
Glenn Thrush, a prominent White House correspondent at The New York Times, has been suspended as the company investigates sexual harassment allegations brought against him by four women, Vox reported on Monday.
Laura McGann, who is the author of Vox's article, alleged that Thrush put his hand on her thigh and suddenly started kissing her when the two were at a bar in Washington, DC. At the time, both worked for Politico.
McGann said she rejected his advances and left the bar. The next day, she alleged that Thrush told their male colleagues in the Politico newsroom an altered version of the story — that she had come onto him at the bar, and that he had "gently shut it down."
A source told McGann that Thrush often told that same story with different female colleagues as the subject, and painted himself as the "grown-up" who stopped things from escalating.
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When contacted about Vox's story, Thrush recalled the encounter between himself and McGann differently, saying it was "consensual, brief, and ended by" him.
Another woman, also a former Politico staffer, told Vox that sometime in 2012 or 2013, she and Thrush ended up at her home after they'd had a lot to drink.
The woman said that Thrush abruptly left her place when she began rejecting his advances and telling him, "Wait, you're married."
"I remember that by the time he left, I didn't have much clothes on," the woman recalled. She added that she views the encounter as consensual and does not feel like Thrush pressured her into anything.
She did share the story with two friends afterward, and one of the women told Vox that "she kept reemphasizing that they were both really drunk, that it was consensual."
"And she did not believe it was an assault," the woman's friend said. "But I do remember she was very rattled and upset and ashamed of what she saw as her role in it."
A third woman told Vox that she had an awkward encounter with Thrush at a Politico party in 2013. Thrush went up to talk to her, the woman said, and then gave her a wet kiss on her ear.
"It all happened very quickly," the woman recalled. "And he leaned in very quickly. At the time, I remember thinking ... adults sometimes kiss each other on the cheek. Then sometimes they miss and slobber on your ear. It was my way of thinking this wasn't as weird as I thought."
Another woman told Vox that Thrush left her in tears one night in June, after she rebuffed his advances. She and Thrush were at a bar and he suggested that they leave and go to another bar, Vox reported. The woman then texted two of her friends and said she was "nervous about this Glenn situation."
Her friends told her to take an Uber home, but the woman left the bar with Thrush after he suggested they get some fresh air.
Once they were outside, the woman alleged that Thrush tried to hold her hand several times, and that she kept pulling it away. She also claimed that she panicked when Thrush kissed her, but that it was interrupted when one of her friends, a reporter named Bianca Padro Ocasio, called her to check up on her.
After the phone call, the woman called an Uber, and she alleged that Thrush started kissing her again. When she started crying, he walked away, "waving his hand flippantly," and left her to wait for her ride alone.
Padro Ocasio contacted Thrush afterward to confront him about his behavior.
"I want to make sure you don’t lure young women aspiring journalists into those situations ever again," she texted him, according to screenshots provided to Vox. "So help me out here. How can I do that?"
"I don’t lure anybody ever," Thrush responded. "I got drunk because I got some shitty health news. And I am acutely aware of the hurdles that young women face in this business and have spent the better part of 20 years advocating for women journalists."
He added that he needed to be more understanding of the "power dynamics in casual situations" because he's "not 25 and just starting out anymore."
He also said that he felt like a "jerk" and noted that he would make it up to Padro Ocasio's friend.
"I feel really strongly about not creating a toxic environment," he wrote.
Thrush apparently sent the woman an email apologizing for his actions after he spoke to Padro Ocasio. The woman said that she accepted his apology because she felt pressured to remain on good terms with Thrush, given his reputation in Washington media circles.
The New York Times said in a statement to Vox that the allegations against Thrush were "very concerning and not in keeping with the standards and values of The New York Times."
"We intend to fully investigate and while we do, Glenn will be suspended," The Times said in the statement. "We support his decision to enter a substance abuse program. In the meantime, we will not be commenting further."
The allegations against Thrush are the latest in a series of revelations that have come out about powerful men in Hollywood, the media, and politics since film producer Harvey Weinstein was accused of sexual misconduct last month.
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