goldmansleep

Does Andrew Goldman, New York TImes Misogynist, Owe His Career to a Harvey Weinstein Headlock?

In recent months, The New York Times Sunday Magazine has published a remarkably tasteless series of misogynistic interviews that feel more at home in a pulp circular devoted to Bobby Riggs’s dwindling fan base than a renowned newspaper ostensibly committed to first-class journalism.

“I gather that people frequently assume you’re a lesbian,” began a question to esteemed Fresh Air host Terry Gross back in July, which went on to suggest that Gross had chosen to host Fresh Air rather than have children (a false insinuation which Gross corrected). Last month, the Times asked Whitney Cummings, “On those Comedy Central roasts, your fellow comedians liked to joke about how you slept your way to fame. How accurate is that criticism?” And last Sunday, The New York Times asked the 82-year-old Tippi Hedren, “Actors have been known to sleep with less powerful directors for advancement in show business. Did you ever consider it?”

These misogynistic queries all came from one man: Andrew Goldman, who took over the one page Q&A slot previously occupied by Deborah Solomon. Solomon’s questionable journalistic practices were exposed in 2007 by the New York Press‘s Matt Elzweig, and the longtime incompetent was pushed from her perch a few years later. (She last made waves debasing the 92nd Street Y and has disappeared from the New York media world like some troublesome bird obliterated into feeble feathers by a drunken gunman.)

But Goldman is far worse than Solomon ever was. He willfully infers a sexist half truth (“Did you sleep your way to the top?”) predicated on nothing more than his puerile imagination. This may have something to do with his lack of commitment to truth and fairness. As he revealed in a interview with The Slant back in April, Goldman was shocked that The New York Times would actually make an effort to get a quote right:

Two things surprised me when I started writing my column for the Times magazine. One, they insist on having an outside transcriber transcribe my interviews. They want to make sure they have a handle on the veracity of the transcript. Second, they actually call back the subjects and in full or in context read back the quotes to see if we misunderstood.

Goldman’s latest vulgar inquiry to Hedren led celebrated novelist Jennifer Weiner to tweet:

But as Galleycat’s Jason Boog reported this afternoon, Goldman, whose Twitter account has now been deleted, responded with the repulsive inventiveness of an eight-year-old sociopath who believes fart jokes or burning insects with a magnifying glass to be the ne plus ultra of comedy:

This resulted in a justifiable firestorm from New Yorker TV critic Emily Nussbaum and Gimme Shelter author Mary Beth Williams, among others. Much of the exchange, collected before Goldman cowardly deleted the account containing his tweets, was put together by Jason Boog on Storify and can be found here.

While Goldman eventually apologized, this is not the first time that his hot and foolish head has steered him into trouble. On November 8, 2000, The New York Times reported that Goldman, then a reporter for the New York Observer, got into a scuffle with Harvey Weinstein at a book party for Karen Duffy’s Model Patient. The conflict began when Rebecca Traister, who was also a reporter for the Observer, put forth a question to Weinstein that he reportedly did not like. As Traister was abandoning her interlocutory efforts, realizing that she wasn’t going to get any quotes from Weinstein, Goldman interceded. What followed was fairly hazy. Weinstein placed Goldman in a headlock.

Despite the considerable media presence, it was hushed up rather well. As David Carr reported in New York Magazine:

“You know what? It’s good that I’m the fucking sheriff of this fucking lawless piece-of-shit town.” Weinstein said that to Andrew Goldman, then a reporter for the New York Observer, when he took him out of a party in a headlock last November after there was a tussle for Goldman’s tape recorder and someone got knocked in the head. Weinstein deputized himself and insisted that Goldman apologize. His hubris would be hilarious if he weren’t able to back it up. Several paparazzi got pictures of the tussle, but Goldman bet me at the time that they would never see print.

I mailed him his dollar a week later. I’d talk to Goldman about it, except he now works for Talk magazine, which is half-owned by Miramax.

Did Goldman’s antics earn him the job at Talk Magazine? When Talk folded, Goldman ended up at Elle, where he put forth insipid questions to major names for many years (such as telling will.i.am. that Fantasy Island was created to provide “bathroom fodder for 14-year-old boys”) before falling upward into the New York Times‘s lofty heights. Perhaps Goldman should be commended for his pugilistic chicanery. Sometimes it’s not just who you know, but who puts you into a headlock.

10/10/12 UPDATE: New York Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan has looked into this matter. Sullivan interviewed Jennifer Weiner about the incident and used this article as the basis for an investigation, asking questions to Times Magazine editor Hugo Lindgren about Goldman’s culpability. Lindgren replied:

We don’t publish material we believe to be misogynist or sexist. The blog post you sent me cited 3 examples, out of probably a thousand published questions that Andrew has asked since he took over the column. In the context of the full interviews, none of them struck me as sexist or misogynist. There were frank, sensitive questions, not declarations or assertions of his own. In the Terry Gross interview, Andrew is not making his own presumption about her sexuality. He is referring to an anecdote that was published in the introduction of her own book, which was made even clearer when she makes a joke about how widespread this misperception is. The Whitney Cummings question is perhaps a little cheekier but still refers to something other people have said about her — “On those Comedy Central roasts, your fellow comedians liked to joke about how you slept your way to fame. How accurate is that criticism?”

10/19/12 UPDATE: In response to Sullivan’s investigation, associate managing editor for standards Philip B. Corbett issued a memo, extending the Times guidelines to social media. Moreover, Goldman was suspended for four weeks. In response, Jennifer Weiner offered the following tweets:

10/20/12 UPDATE: Despite Goldman’s apology and his suspension, Goldman’s latest Q&A with T.C. Boyle continues in the same misogynistic direction as Goldman’s previous Q&As, with Goldman suggesting that Boyle’s wife isn’t “letting the dishes pile up in the sink.”

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9 Comments

  1. [...] asked Hugo Lindgren, the editor of the Times Magazine, about the incident, sending him a blog post that raised questions about some of Mr. Goldman’s earlier questions to women he interviewed, [...]

  2. In the sentence, “Solomon’s questionable journalistic practices were exposed in 2007 by the New York Press‘s Matt Elzweig,” I think you meant to link to this piece:
    http://nypress.com/questions-for-the-questioner/

    The current link is a sidebar to that piece, which really doesn’t give much insight into Solomon’s questionable practices.

  3. FMJohnson: You are correct. There were a few stories The New York Press (and Elzweig) wrote about Solomon around the same time. I’ve fixed the link. Thank you.

  4. You’re drawing some very long bows here. What do you personally have against the man?

  5. [...] result is that she’s turning into what you might call a media pundit with a bully pulpit. Ed Champion could never get a response from NYT Magazine editor Hugo Lindgren to his questions; Sullivan can. [...]

  6. There were frank, sensitive questions, not declarations or assertions of his own. In the Terry Gross interview, Andrew is not making his own presumption about her sexuality. He is referring to an anecdote that was published in the introduction of her own book, which was made even clearer when she makes a joke about how widespread this misperception is. The Whitney Cummings question is perhaps a little cheekier but still refers to something other people have said about her — “On those Comedy Central roasts, your fellow comedians liked to joke about how you slept your way to fame. How accurate is that criticism?

    Whether these topics have been raised by others, including the interviewees themselves, is irrelevant. What was misogynistic about the questions was that he chose to ask them rather than something else. He could have asked anything. These are interesting people. They have many things to discuss. He made the conscious decision, informed by his own misogyny, to ask these questions. That is problematic.

  7. [...] You can read our complete story about the controversial Twitter exchange here. Goldman has since apologized to Weiner and his account has been removed from Twitter. Times public editor Margaret Sullivan wrote about Goldman’s Twitter comments last week, citing our Storify record and literary blogger Edward Champion‘s coverage of the incident. [...]

  8. The fact that you called the latest q and a with TC Boyle misogynistic completely discredits you. The “dishes pile up” question comes right after Boyle said he had to go home and clean up after his wife who had been home alone for two weeks. It had nothing to do with a woman’s role or any other nonsense you seem to be implying here. The question would work exactly the same no matter the gender of the subject. You are seriously grasping.

  9. Patrick: It doesn’t discredit me at all. The fact of the matter is that, even after Boyle says he has to “clean up after my poor wife,” Goldman immediately assumes that Boyle’s wife isn’t “letting the dishes pile up in the sink.” Goldman’s immediate gender default to a woman cleaning in some form spells out his crass and misogynistic motivations, which have been expressed in numerous other Q&As. It assumes that Boyle’s wife isn’t doing other activities. If he had asked “What do you mean clean up after your wife?” he would have been on firm ground.

    As it so happens, I also interviewed Mr. Boyle when he came through town. We even talked about his wife a bit. It never even occurred to me to consider her role in relation to cleaning.

    http://www.edrants.com/t-c-boyle-the-bat-segundo-show/

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