New York Times won't fire suspended star reporter Glenn Thrush amid sexual harassment claims

The New York Times announced that star reporter Glenn Thrush will not be fired but will be removed from the team of reporters covering the White House after he was suspended last month amid allegations he sexually harassed co-workers.

“While we believe that Glenn has acted offensively, we have decided that he does not deserve to be fired,” New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet said in a statement.

Thrush will remain suspended until late January, when the paper moves him to a different beat. Thrush is also an MSNBC contributor but hasn’t appeared on the network since he was sidelined by the paper, as MSNBC was “awaiting the outcome of The Times’s investigation.” MSNBC declined comment over when he might be welcomed back.  

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

- New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet

The Times did not mention where Thrush would be assigned or who would replace him at the White House. Baquet said Thrush was undergoing counseling and substance abuse rehabilitation and would receive training “to improve his workplace conduct.”

Thrush, a frequent critic of President Trump, was suspended without pay on Nov. 20 after Vox’s Laura McGann accused Thrush of sexual misconduct when they were colleagues. She wrote that she spoke with three other women who described “a range of similar experiences, from unwanted groping and kissing to wet kisses out of nowhere to hazy sexual encounters that played out under the influence of alcohol.”

Vox reported that a 23-year-old accuser said Thrush “left her in tears after she resisted his advances” on a Washington street corner. Vox also published a series of text messages between Thrush and a friend of the accuser who confronted the New York Times journalist.

Times lawyer Charlotte Behrendt led an internal investigation against Thrush that “involved interviews with more than 30 people in New York and Washington, both inside and outside The Times,” according to the paper.

Baquet and his top editors reviewed the findings and notified Thrush on Wednesday that he wouldn’t be fired but would have a new role.

“We understand that our colleagues and the public at large are grappling with what constitutes sexually offensive behavior in the workplace and what consequences are appropriate,” Baquet said. “Each case has to be evaluated based on individual circumstances. We believe this is an appropriate response to Glenn’s situation.”

Thrush, who made a name for himself at Politico before joining the Times this past January, has been portrayed on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” by Bobby Moynihan. The reporter told Vox he hasn’t had any alcohol since June when he “upset” one of his accusers after a night of “drinking heavily.”

“I have not taken a drink since June 15, 2017, have resumed counseling and will soon begin out-patient treatment for alcoholism. I am working hard to repair the damage I have done,” Thrush said.

Former Times staffer and current Atlantic reporter Annie Lowrey slammed the paper in a lengthy Twitter thread, while The Hill Media Columnist Joe Concha tweeted, “This makes little sense. Where he works or what he covers is irrelevant. Either hire him back in his old capacity or fire him outright.”

“If I were still at the Times, I'd be raging mad,” Lowrey wrote. 

Thrush often shared a byline with prolific journalist Maggie Haberman, and the duo planned to write a book together -- although Random House, which had agreed to a book deal, announced it was looking “closely and seriously” at the Times’ investigation.

Haberman said “of course,” when asked if she still planned to write the book.

Brian Flood covers the media for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter at @briansflood.