Washington Gadfly

WaPo Race Discrimination Charges Purged From Bezos Wiki Page

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Evan Gahr Investigative Journalist
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How is this for micro-aggression?

Accusations by a black WaPo employee that owner Jeff Bezos is responsible for “systemic” racism at the paper, including white managers shrieking at her and other African-American subordinates with impunity, were recently removed from his Wikipedia page by an anonymous user on Wednesday.

The claims by “Ms. Jones,” who sought out this reporter because of his reporting on the ongoing federal race discrimination lawsuit against WaPo that executive editor Marty Baron ordered subordinates not to cover, were not disputed by Bezos or his chief spinmeister, Jay Carney.

The silence is curious because last year they both furiously challenged the humongous New York Times story last year that claimed Amazon is a hellacious place to work.

In comments consistent with charges in the federal lawsuit, Jones, who was frightened of retaliation if her name or identifying details were used, contended non-newsroom departments of the Washington Post are virtually all white or even without any employees of color altogether. The same May 18 Washington Gadfly article that quoted her also noted that former owner Donald Graham wanted to settle the 2013 race discrimination claim by award-winning advertising salesman David DeJesus, who was fired after his white boss shrieked at him out of the blue.

But when Bezos assumed ownership, the mediation session before a federal magistrate authorized by Graham collapsed because WaPo refused to even compensate DeJesus for lost earnings. He was eventually reinstated on orders of a Newspaper Guild arbitrator, who ruled the dismissal warrantless, but forced to wait in the lobby for some 30 minutes like a delivery boy before being allowed upstairs  for re-assignment.

References to another lawsuit that accuses WaPo management of tolerating sexual harassment of a black maintenance worker by his female supervisor, who sent him pictures of her lady parts, were also removed from the Wikipage.

All the information was deleted on June 1 by an unidentified user who cited possible “vandalism.”


Wikipedia defines “vandalism” as “any addition, removal, or change of content, in a deliberate attempt to damage Wikipedia. Examples of typical vandalism are adding irrelevant obscenities and crude humor to a page, illegitimately blanking pages, and inserting obvious nonsense into a page.”

It seems like the only “vandalism” here was the removal of the information, which damages the whole purpose of Wikipedia: make crucial factual information, particularly about powerful public figures, available to the public. The Bezos Wiki page is particularly crucial because Mediaite, Huffington Post honcho Sam Stein, Politico media blogger Hadas Gold, and WaPo media blogger Erik Wemple all refused to cover Jones’ allegations.

Bezos did not reply to a tweeted request for comment.