By Robin Abcarian
Los Angeles Times.
Jill Abramson, the first female executive editor of the New York Times, who was unceremoniously dumped from her job Wednesday, the professional-class equivalent of equal pay heroine Lilly Ledbetter?
Much is still unknown about the circumstances leading up to Abramson’s termination by New York Times Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr.
But at least two well-sourced media reporters, Ken Auletta of the New Yorker, and David Folkenflik of NPR, confirmed that Abramson, 60, who was less than three years into the top Times job, was fired after she discovered she earned less in pay and benefits than her predecessor, Bill Keller, and asked the newspaper to make it right.
There is obviously more to the story, but if that part is true, the comparison to Ledbetter is apt.
Ledbetter, a retired Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. supervisor, discovered that for years she was paid substantially less than her 15 male counterparts. She sued, and lost because she did not bring the lawsuit in a timely manner. (How could she? She didn’t know she was being underpaid.) Thanks to her, Congress passed the Lilly Ledbetter Act, which restarts the 180-day statute of limitations clock each time a discriminatory paycheck is issued.
It was the first bill President Obama signed in office.
Many reports say Abramson had other problems, including a conflicted relationship with the publisher and Times CEO Mark Thompson.
On her watch, the Times aggressively reported on Thompson’s role at the BBC when it was involved in a controversy over a sex scandal investigation. She has also been described as “brusque” and even, yes, “pushy.”
The Guardian reported that Abramson tried to hire its U.S. editor-in-chief, Janine Gibson, to be co-managing editor with Dean Baquet, 57, the former Los Angeles Times editor who succeeds Abramson now in the top Times job.