Washington Gadfly

EXCLUSIVE: Black Staffer Blames Bezos For ‘Systemic Racism’ At Washington Post

Evan Gahr Investigative Journalist
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Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos allows white male managers to verbally abuse black subordinates and has rendered the paper’s stated commitment to diversity “a lie,” says a black non-newsroom employee.

Echoing claims in an ongoing federal race discrimination lawsuit that Donald Graham was trying to settle until Bezos formally assumed ownership the woman said most departments outside the newsroom are predominantly white and management blew off her own complaints about an abusive white manager.

Bezos “is setting the racist and sexist tone of the paper,” she said, contending that the liberal broadsheet is guilty of “systemic racism.”

“The fish rots from the head down,” said the woman, let’s call her Ms. Jones. “He is allowing this to happen? There are floors that are all white.”

Fearful of retaliation if her name or even identifying details are used, Jones is hoping that going public might shame Bezos into correcting the problems.  Her tipping point was management ignoring her complaints about an otherwise mild-mannered white manager who shrieked at her earlier this year when she provided a routine answer to his routine question.

“I have not seen [any whites] be treated the way I was,” Jones said, contending that, as the only black woman on his team, the supervisor “was trying to put me in ‘my place’ and treat me like an angry black woman.”

Sound familiar?

In sworn affidavits for the racial discrimination lawsuit of award-winning ad salesman David DeJesus, fired after a white supervisor shrieked at him out of the blue for supposed insubordination, another black woman,  claimed advertising vice-president Ethan Selzer, made racist jokes about her husband and told a black female employee to clean the department kitchen.

Neither Selzer nor WaPo denied the allegations — they just claim DeJesus was fired in 2011 for non-discriminatory reasons, even though the Newspaper Guild arbitrator later ordered him re-instated and declared the dismissal unjustified.

When his lawsuit was exposed in a Daily Caller opinion piece and reported extensively by FishbowlDC, Washington Post company chairman Donald Graham, who knows DeJesus very well, instructed his lawyer to try and settle the case, according to court transcripts.

Mediation was scheduled for mid-November 2013 with a federal magistrate. But at the session, which is not confidential, Bezos would not even compensate DeJesus — who the paper made wait in the lobby for 20 minutes like a delivery boy when he returned to work — for his lost earnings so talks collapsed.

Jones said everything got “much worse” when Bezos bought the paper in 2013.

The Amazon founder, whose flagship company is reportedly a hellacious place to work,  appointed former Reagan administration hand Fred Ryan as publisher. “He brought in his friends—white males to run the company and they brought more white males.”

Now, she contended, white managers are given free reign to “yell at black subordinates for no reason.”

Jones called the WaPo support for diversity “a lie.”

She also lamented that media blogger Erik Wemple, who just wrote about similar allegations against the New York Times advertising department and is obsessive about ferreting out media racism, is silent on all the allegations against his own employer.

“He writes about everybody but us. He doesn’t want to poop where he eats.”

Told that if past is prologue Wemple’s wife might pick the stuff up and throw it at somebody if he does she laughed.

It was the only time during a roughly one hour conversation that she did not sound really frightened.

Evan Gahr