Apoorva Mandavilli, a science and health reporter who spent much of the past year covering the pandemic, tweeted on Wednesday, "Someday we will stop talking about the lab leak theory and maybe even admit its racist roots. But alas, that day is not yet here."
She eventually deleted it, but she didn't back off from her argument.
"A theory can have racist roots and still gather reasonable supporters along the way," Mandavilli responded to a critic. "Doesn't make the roots any less racist or the theory any more convincing, though."
The Times reporter later claimed that the notion the virus escaped from a lab was "possible" but not "plausible."
"And almost impossible to disprove, meaning it will probably not go away till people lose interest," Mandavilli wrote.
She later issued an apology, writing "I deleted my earlier tweets about the origins of the pandemic because they were badly phrased. The origin of the pandemic is an important line of reporting that my colleagues are covering aggressively."
However, Mandavilli appeared to have completely scrubbed her Twitter account on Thursday.
The Times did not immediately respond to Fox News' request for comment.
Mandavilli's tweets faced an intense backlash with critics saying that they captured how members of the media were so dismissive of the lab-leak theory a year ago.
Now, many media outlets have changed their tune after the Wall Street Journal reported that US intelligence believes at least three Wuhan scientists were hospitalized with COVID-like symptoms back in November 2019.
Fox News' David Rutz contributed to this report.