Suspended Times reporter to resume work but won't cover White House

Glenn Thrush, one of the most prominent political reporters from The New York Times, would remain suspended until late January and then be removed from the team covering the White House.
Glenn Thrush, one of the most prominent political reporters from The New York Times, would remain suspended until late January and then be removed from the team covering the White House. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (NYTIMES) The New York Times said Wednesday that Glenn Thrush, one of the paper's most prominent political reporters, would remain suspended until late January and then be removed from the team covering the White House after he faced allegations of inappropriate sexual behaviour.

The decision came a month after the website Vox published a report that contained allegations from four female journalists of inappropriate behavior by Thrush. After learning Vox planned to run its article, which was published Nov 20, The Times began an investigation into Thrush's conduct.

The inquiry was led by Charlotte Behrendt, a lawyer in The Times newsroom, and involved interviews with more than 30 people in New York and Washington, both inside and outside The Times, according to a person briefed on the process. Behrendt compiled a report with her findings that was reviewed by Dean Baquet, the executive editor, and a group of top editors.

Thrush was told of the decision Wednesday (Dec 20), during a meeting with Baquet.

In a statement, Baquet said the company had completed its inquiry and found that Thrush had "behaved in ways that we do not condone".

"While we believe that Glenn has acted offensively, we have decided that he does not deserve to be fired," Baquet said.

Baquet also said Thrush was undergoing counselling and substance abuse rehabilitation on his own and that he would receive training "to improve his workplace conduct". "We understand that our colleagues and the public at large are grappling with what constitutes sexually offensive behaviour in the workplace and what consequences are appropriate," Baquet added. "Each case has to be evaluated based on individual circumstances. We believe this is an appropriate response to Glenn's situation."

Thrush, 50, has been suspended without pay since late November, when the Vox report was published. An article on which Thrush shared a byline with two other reporters, about President Donald Trump's first year in office, was published earlier this month, with a note saying Thrush had contributed reporting before he was suspended. The Times did not say what subject Thrush would cover when he returned from suspension.

Thrush declined to comment.

The four women in the Vox article described Thrush's behaviour as including unwanted kissing and touching. One of the women, Laura McGann, wrote the article, which was presented in the first person. The three other women cited in the article were not identified by name.

Three of the women described encounters that occurred when Thrush was working at Politico. One described an incident that occurred in June. None of the women cited in the article worked at The Times.

Thrush, who had been a star reporter at Politico, was hired by The Times in January to cover the Trump administration.

As one of six reporters covering the White House full time, Thrush became one of the paper's most prominent names, writing numerous front-page articles about Trump and the workings of his administration. His name also resonated outside journalism circles: He was portrayed several times, by Bobby Moynihan, on "Saturday Night Live" as a foil to Sean Spicer, the former White House press secretary.

He was also working on a book about Trump with Maggie Haberman, another White House reporter for The Times. Last month, Random House said in a statement that it was looking "closely and seriously" at the matter concerning Thrush. Random House did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.

Thrush is also a contributor to MSNBC. In a statement last month, the network said it was "awaiting the outcome of The Times's investigation" and that Thrush had no scheduled appearances.

At Politico, Thrush was the chief political correspondent and a senior staff writer for its magazine. He has also worked at Newsday.