Multiple women say that one of the New York Times’ top White House reporters has used his powerful position to sexually harass women. It raises the prospect that some of the most important stories around sexual assault, the treatment of women, and the 2016 presidential campaign were shaped by someone with a history of predatory behavior.
Glenn Thrush, known for his tough questions and dogged reporting of the Trump campaign and administration, was suspended by the New York Times on Monday after a Vox investigation revealed his history of predatory behavior against young journalists while working at Politico. The author of the piece, Vox Editor Laura McGann, recalled a particular disturbing interaction she had with Thrush at a bar in Virginia while they worked together at Politico about five years ago.
He is the latest newsroom leader to be accused of inappropriate behavior following the New York Times expose of Harvey Weinstein, which prompted a wave of sexual abuse allegations against famous men in a variety of fields. Others include former Vox Media Editorial Director and Eater Founder Lockhart Steele, who was fired from the company and a pair of top NPR heads including its former Board Chairman Roger LaMay and Senior Vice President of News Michael Oreskes.
The Vox article pointed out the hypocrisy of Thrush’s behavior. He reportedly wrote a recent Facebook post linking to a story about sexual misconduct allegations made against another top political journalist Mark Halperin, who was also one of the most influential chroniclers of the 2016 presidential election. Before his own allegations came to light, Halperin said Trump should be celebrating revelations that the then-presidential candidate was being accused of sexually assaulting several women in a New York Times article.
“There’s some troubling things in the piece, but there’s nothing illegal, there’s nothing even kind of like beyond boorish or politically incorrect, which is built into the Donald Trump brand,” Halperin said on a May 2016 episode of Morning Joe on MSNBC.
Thrush reportedly wrote on Facebook after news of the allegations against Halperin broke last month: “Young people who come into a newsroom 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.”
He has also written about issues involving sexual assault and harassment in the past.
Thrush repeatedly wrote about the fallout of the infamous leaked Access Hollywood tape where Trump he was caught admitting he grabbed women by their genitals without consent in articles and columns for Politico. He later wrote about the president’s defense of Bill O’Reilly after the New York Times repealed the ex-Fox News host had made settlements with five women that had made sexual harassment claims against him. And he wrote about Hillary Clinton’s account of a 1975 case in Arkansas where as a young lawyer she defended a 41-year-old factory worker was accused of raping a 12-year-old girl, for Newsday.
The article reveals texts and emails between coworkers where Thrush apologized for his behavior following nights in which he allegedly made unwanted advances upon young journalists in their 20’s, including McGann, at bars. Three other women reportedly shared similar experiences.
The article cited interviews with 40 people that showed Thrush was an influential veteran newsroom leader who could help reporters further their careers.
The women reportedly said Thrush’s behavior ranged from unwanted groping, kissing, to “hazy sexual encounters that played out under the influence of alcohol.”
Thrush in the Vox article said he was seeking help for his drinking problem stemming from health issues and “apologized any woman who felt uncomfortable in my presence, and for any situation where I behaved inappropriately.” He also claimed that the incident with McGann was consensual. But in a statement he denied his accusers’ claims: “I have never offered mentorship or reporting advice to anyone, man or woman, with an expectation of anything in return. To assert otherwise is false.”