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Jill Abramson: It Wasn’t Sexism

Former NYT editor opens up in Cosmo interview.

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Jill Abramson

In a new interview with Cosmopolitan magazine posted online Tuesday, former New York Times Editor Jill Abramson says she was not fired because of sexism. She also asserts that she is not ashamed of having been forced to leave the Times.

“Is it hard to say I was fired?” she said. “No. I’ve said it about 20 times, and it’s not. I was in fact insistent that that be publicly clear because I was not ashamed of that. And I don’t think young women — it’s hard, I know — they should not feel stigmatized if they are fired. Especially in this economy people are fired right and left for arbitrary reasons, and there are sometimes forces beyond your control.”

Abramson does not agree with the assessment made by many feminists, that her firing was the result of a sexist attitude on the part of her male superiors, who saw her as being too pushy and controlling, while the same behaviors by male executives is acceptable.

Abramson said of the reports about her firing: “This is going to sound incredibly out of it, but I didn’t in real time read what was written about me and losing my job. It was a survival mechanism.”

In describing her reaction to the termination, Abramson said, “My kids were upset, and the loudness of the coverage was surprising. So I arrive at my trainer in Manhattan, where I always went early on Thursdays. He had these boxing gloves, and he said, ‘You need this.’ I said, ‘Take a picture of me.’ I wanted to send it to my kids to see I wasn’t at home crying and sitting in a corner. Within a nanosecond, my daughter, Cornelia, had put it on Instagram, and it went viral. The next morning, it was on the cover of the New York Post.”

Abramson’s future is still unclear. Harvard recently announced that she would teach a course as a guest lecturer in the upcoming academic year, but the journalist has yet to acquire a new, full time position.

As to what she’s doing these days, Abramson said, “I still love to write and report, and I’m doing some writing. I just handed in a piece this morning. A lot of news organizations have approached me. I know I don’t really want to run something again right now.”



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