According to a report by NPR, a former reporter for The New York Times, Landon Thomas Jr., asked Jeffrey Epstein for a $30,000 donation to a Harlem cultural center. Thomas Jr. reportedly interviewed Epstein last year to follow-up on a tip that the convicted sex trafficker was advising Elon Musk on Tesla. The 16-year NYT veteran sat down with his longtime source and reportedly asking Epstein for a donation during this time.
After the solicitation, The New York Times Company’s chief spokesperson, Eileen Murphy, said that Thomas Jr. was benched immediately as the move was a violation of the policy that governs the relationships between NYT employees and their sources.
A source claims that Thomas Jr. was never to have any professional contact with Epstein again.
“It was made clear to Landon that he was never to have any professional contact with Epstein whatsoever,” they said, per The New York Post.
“He wasn’t to call him or speak to him or use him as a source,” they continued, adding that the solicitation was a “flagrant breach” of NYT guidelines and that editors were “horrified.”
Thomas Jr.’s move was enough to spark interest in his past work on Epstein. After going through his clippings, NYT staffers found a 2008 profile on Epstein that he did after traveling to Epstein’s private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands just before Epstein was incarcerated in Florida. Disturbingly, it painted a picture of Epstein as someone that solicited prostitutes as opposed to someone committing sex crimes against minors, even though, at the time, federal agents had identified several dozen possible young victims.
NEW: Sources tell The Daily Beast that New York Times reporter Landon Thomas Jr. was “pushed out” after confessing he was friends with Jeffrey Epstein https://t.co/JONyAOf0DD
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) August 23, 2019
“As his legal troubles deepened, Mr. Epstein gazed at the azure sea and the lush hills of St. Thomas in the distance, poked at a lunch of crab and rare steak prepared by his personal chef, and tried to explain how his life had taken such a turn,” Thomas wrote. “He likened himself to Gulliver shipwrecked among the diminutive denizens of Lilliput.”
The New York Post reports that Thomas Jr. left the publication in January and the reason for his departure was never public. According to one NYT source, top business editor Ellen Pollock pushed him out. Another person with knowledge of the matter claims that Thomas Jr. should have been fired on the spot for his Epstein solicitation and wishes the publication got rid of him sooner.
The Daily Beast reports that Thomas Jr. frequently tried to minimize his relationship with Epstein in conversations with his colleagues.