Washington Confidential

Washington Gadfly Exclusive: Federal Judge OKs WaPo Racist Jokes

Evan Gahr Investigative Journalist
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The Washington Post just emerged victorious against a longtime black employee’s discrimination lawsuit that claimed he was fired in a systematic purge of older black employees who were replaced with younger, cheaper whites — leaving the business side of the paper with almost no “diversity.”

But WaPo probably doesn’t want to brag about the victory.

Plaintiff Dave DeJesus, an award-winning salesman who was dismissed without warning after his white boss shrieked at him out of the blue, sued for discrimination and cited the alleged purge to argue his dismissal was discriminatory.

Washington federal district court Judge John Bates issued summary judgment for the Post late last month, saying De Jesus did not prove he was fired for discriminatory reasons.

The liberal broadsheet claimed the award-winning salesman was axed because he gave an unauthorized advertising study to the wrong client representative.

But the paper did not dispute an ex-black employee’s sworn affidavit for the lawsuit that a white advertising VP named Ethan Selzer repeatedly made racist jokes, even telling one woman to clean the department kitchen.

Selzer declined comment and does not even appear to have been disciplined for his race-baiting.

De Jesus used the affidavits to argue that he was the victim of a poisonous racial atmosphere. The paper did not dispute allegations in the affidavits but said that the assertions were legally irrelevant. And United States District Court for the District of Columbia Judge John Bates agreed.

De Jesus, who got his job at The Washington Post back after the Newspaper Guild arbitrator ruled he was fired without cause, is vowing to appeal. He is seeking back pay and damages.

“God doesn’t put you in a battle for easy victories,” he told the Washington Gadfly. “He doesn’t do anything small. He does it for His glory. So I’m all in and will continue to help those who need help along the way.

He is expected to file papers with the D.C. circuit court next month.

All of this sounds like a great story for a paper obsessed with the lack of “diversity” everywhere from Silicon Valley to the “Saturday Night Live” cast. And awash with stories about allegations of racism — many far less substantiated than what De Jesus presented.

So why the news blackout — especially now that there is the obvious news hook that a judge just ruled on the case?

WaPo media blogger Erik Wemple and media reporter Paul Farhi previously hung up when asked why they won’t cover the lawsuit after it was first filed in 2013. But Wemple admitted he didn’t even read it.

But reporter Steven Mufson asked to cover the lawsuit and was told by business section editors that the decision to deep-six it was made “high up.”

Does that mean WaPo executive editor Marty Baron?

Confronted recently across the street from The Washington Post recently, Baron was rather tight-lipped.


“Marty? Hi, I’m Evan. How many black people does the Washington Post need to fire before you report it?”

Baron ignored the question and continued to walk down M Street, with his inquisitor in hot pursuit.

Suddenly, he turned around and asked in a barely audible voice, “Hey, uh, you know, uh, what are you doing?”

What are you doing?

Baron is executive editor of one of the most powerful newspapers in the country but he’s never heard of a reporter chasing somebody down the street for an interview?

“I’m following you like reporters always do [with people who don’t want to be interviewed]. You telling me Washington Post reporters never follow people?”

As Baron walked into the yonder he was asked, “Do you think telling a black woman to clean the kitchen is racist?”

No response.

Don’t black lives matter at the Washington Post?