Andrew Goldman, the regular contributor for The New York Times Magazine’s “Talk” feature, is getting soundly criticized for what some claim to be a pattern of sexist and misogynistic questions during the interviews he conducts. The latest incident even prompted a response from Margaret Sullivan, the Times’ public editor.
In Goldman’s latest interview, he asks the actress Tippi Hedren if she ever thought about having sex with a director to advance her career. Jennifer Weiner, a published author, noticed Goldman’s question, and took to Twitter to criticize him for it — specifically because she thought he had been sexist in the past. Weiner’s tweet prompted Goldman to tweet back to her that she “would have liked at least to have had opportunity to sleep way to top.” Eventually Goldman apologized, and he has since deleted his Twitter account.
Sullivan noticed the incident, and asked Hugo Lindgren, the editor of the Times Magazine, about it.
Lindgren said that he spoke to Goldman about his Twitter outburst, but did not agree that he was frequently sexist, and considered Goldman’s question to Hedren acceptable:
I saw it [the question] and approved it. This is the full question: The worst abuse happened after you rebuffed his advances. Actors have been known to sleep with less powerful directors for advancement in show business. Did you ever consider it? The whole reason for the interview is a new HBO movie about how Hitchcock sexually harassed her. It was an unsavory decision she was actually faced with, so he asked her about it: He made no assertions about what she should or shouldn’t have done. Andrew’s questions acknowledge and refer to sexism in the world, but they are not, in and of themselves, sexist.
Sullivan did not agree. “It sounds as though he’s going to get that chance [to keep his job]. Given his misbehavior on Twitter and his status as a highly replaceable freelancer, I think his editors are extraordinarily generous to give it to him,” wrote Sullivan.
We are fans of Goldman’s work, and in fact often read Talk just for his questions, not the person he is interviewing. He’s a talented writer and we’re glad he’s not being discarded by the Times. However, it is worth wondering if Goldman had written something deemed racist, would he still have a job? If not, why is it different when people are claiming that he’s offensive to women?