Jill Abramson: Was New York Times Editor Fired For Demanding Same Pay As A Man?

Jill Abramson, the first woman to hold the top editor job at The New York Times in the paper’s 163 years of publication, was suddenly fired Wednesday afternoon after just 32 months in the job. No specific reason was given for the 60-year-old Abramson’s abrupt ouster, by publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., who said only, “I believe that new leadership will improve some aspects of the management of the newsroom.”

But according to a report in The New Yorker by journalist and author Ken Auletta, the real reason that Sulzberger suddenly fired Abramson was that she found out her pay and benefits were less than the male editor who preceded her in the Times‘ top job, Bill Keller.

Abramson also learned that when she was managing editor, she was paid less than Keller had been at that time as well, after she replaced him in that position.

Jill Abramson Considered ‘Pushy’ By Times Bosses

Her insistence on being compensated at the same level as a man in the same job contributed a perception among New York Times management that Jill Abramson was too “pushy,” which as Auletta wrote, is “a characterization that, for many, has an inescapably gendered aspect.”

Auletta also reported that when Jill Abramson was managing editor, she found out that a male deputy managing editor received a higher salary than she did, though she held the higher-ranking job.

At that point, Abramson hired an lawyer to “make polite inquiries about the pay and pension disparities.” But that only aggravated Sulzberger and other upper management.

Men comprise 63 percent of American journalists, according to a 2012 survey by Indiana University — a study which also found that women in journalism were paid just 82 cents on the dollar compared to men in the field.

Abramson Clashed With New York Times CEO Mark Thompson

While Abramson and Sulzberger reportedly had a lengthy history of tension, she also clashed with Times CEO Mark Thompson and told friends she felt “isolated” at the paper, with no backing from her bosses.

Sulzberger announced that he was replacing Jill Abramson in the executive editor job by promoting Managing Editor Dean Baquet — who now becomes The New York Times‘ first African-American executive editor, and who had also reportedly butted heads with Abramson in the past.

Apparently the Times bosses were so eager to get rid of Jill Abramson that she was fired at around 2 pm and by 4 pm, her name had already been stripped from the paper’s online masthead, which now lists Baquet as executive editor.