It's been almost eight months since the New York Post published a cartoon that many interpreted as a racially-loaded swipe at President Obama. The furor the cartoon generated has largely dissipated, but now it threatens to flare up again following the firing of an editor who criticized the paper from within in the tense days following its publication.
Associate editor Sandra Guzman was dismissed last week "for reasons that are being hotly debated by personnel inside the company," reports the Huffington Post's Sam Stein. Guzman had expressed her disapproval of the cartoon -- which was drawn by Sean Delonas, and bizarrely tied the then-recent shooting of a crazed chimpanzee to the federal stimulus bill -- in a private email. "I have raised my objections to management," she told recipients.
The Post says Guzman's departure was a simple business matter: The Tempo entertainment section, which she edited, was recently discontinued. And no one seems to have any hard proof that she was let go for any other reason.
But the inference of retribution was one the Post could have and should have anticipated. And Guzman's dismissal looks bad for other reasons as well: She was the only Hispanic woman in the paper's editorial management hierarchy. (There are no African-American women in management, either.) Ivan Roman, president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, says the group's board of directors is conferring today to discuss its response and expects to have a statement later.
In response to the chimp flap, News Corp. (NWS), which owns the Post, promised to form a "diversity council" in New York City to improve its relations with minority communities and consider any charges of racial insensitivity. But the formation of that council hasn't prevented further charges of bigotry: For the past two months, a group called Color of Change has been leading a boycott effort against Fox News, another News Corp. property, over the comments of Glenn Beck, who accused Obama of harboring a "deep-seated hatred for white people." Between Beck and Sandra Guzman, it sounds like that diversity council will have a full agenda for its next meeting.
New York Post editor fired after speaking out against controversial cartoon