Glenn Thrush, star reporter for the New York Times, has been suspended pending a full investigation into allegations from many younger, female reporters that he engaged in a wide range of sexual misconduct against them over the course of more than a decade.
The story on this was published originally by Laura McGann of Vox, which is what caught my attention. I used to work with Laura at the Center for Independent Media (later renamed the American Independent News Network). When she left the organization, it was for a job at Politico, where Thrush was already a rising star reporter who held enormous influence. Laura shares the stories of several other female reporters and also includes her own story of his actions:
On that night five years ago, I joined Thrush and a handful of other reporters for a few rounds at the Continental, a Politico hangout in Rosslyn, Virginia. At first, nothing seemed strange, until the crowd had dwindled down to Thrush, me, and one other female colleague.
Thrush tossed a $20 bill at her and told her to take a cab and leave us, “the grown-ups,” alone. He slid into my side of the booth, blocking me in. I was wearing a skirt, and he put his hand on my thigh. He started kissing me. I pulled myself together and got out of there, shoving him on my way out.
In the morning, Thrush sent me an apologetic email. I didn’t save it, but I recall it as similar to the one he would later send to Padró Ocasio’s friend in June. He said he was sorry, but he didn’t say for what, exactly.
Thrush then started spreading a story around the Politico office that the exact opposite had happened, that she had come on to him but he put a stop to it. In fact, that was his usual M.O. in such situations. In each case, he would drunkenly come on to a younger woman reporter whose career he was in a position to help or harm, get rebuffed, apologize to them, then go around telling everyone else that the exact opposite had happened. All of them were in their 20s, just getting started in their careers, while Glenn is now 50 years old.What makes this all the more sad is that Thrush was someone who presented himself as an ally to women, someone who is firmly on their side when it comes to such sexual harassment and exploitation by men — other men, of course. When the allegations against Mark Halperin came out a few weeks ago, Thrush posted a seemingly passionate note on his Facebook page saying that young women in journalism “deserve to be taught our trade, given our support and enlisted in our calling — not betrayed by little men who believe they are bigger than the mission.”
That makes me angry because it casts doubt on me and all men who try our best to support women and condemn sexual harassment. It makes us all suspect. And it should. Many women I know say that they are particularly suspect of outspoken male allies in situations like this because they’ve seen how empty and hollow those claims are when so many such “allies” are revealed to be predators themselves. And I get it. They’re suspect, and they should be. But the fault for that lies with fake allies like Thrush, not with them. They’re being perfectly reasonable to be suspicious. The only thing I can do is continue to advocate what I believe and back it up with my actions. But men like Thrush make it far more difficult to do that.
Far more importantly, they do a great deal of damage to women. They undermine the careers of young women in a field where we need more of them, not less. They use their positions of influence to put these women into impossible positions. And it needs to stop. Is any man in a position of authority capable of handling that reality without harassing women? I’m not in such a position, but I’m beginning to have my doubts.