Arthur Sulzberger Jr., publisher of the New York Times, told staff that it was “simply not true” that now-fired Executive Editor Jill Abramson was paid less than her male predecessor, according to a staff memo obtained by Politico.
A bombshell report on Wednesday revealed that Abramson had discussed the pay inequity with Sulzberger and that the gap was closed, but that Abramson had also asked a lawyer to inquire about past pay and pension disparities.
Sulzberger’s denial that Abramson was paid less would discredit the earlier report.
“It is simply not true that Jill’s compensation was significantly less than her predecessors,” Sulzberger wrote, as quoted by Politico. “Her pay is comparable to that of earlier executive editors.”
Not only that, but, according to Sulzberger, Abramson’s “total compensation package” for 2013 was 10 percent higher than her male predecessor’s.
Further, Sulzberger wrote, any notion that Abramson’s inquiries into the supposed pay inequity led to her firing was untrue.
"Compensation played no part whatsoever in my decision that Jill could not remain as executive editor. Nor did any discussion about compensation,” Sulzberger wrote. “The reason — the only reason — for that decision was concerns I had about some aspects of Jill’s management of our newsroom, which I had previously made clear to her, both face-to-face and in my annual assessment.”
Sulzberger’s defense may have come too late, as the outrage over Abramson’s firing for the pay discrepancy has already begun.