New York Post senior reporter Austin Fenner was fired from the paper on November 9, the same day that a former colleague, Sandra Guzman, filed a discrimination suit against the Rupert Murdoch-owned paper. This week, Fenner, who is black, leveled his own allegations against the Post, filing suit yesterday is U.S. District Court in Manhattan.
And there is more of a connection between Fenner and Guzman, who was let go from the Post in October months after speaking out against a controversial cartoon portraying a dead chimpanzee in reference to President Barack Obama’s stimulus plan. Fenner also spoke out about the racist implications of the cartoon, which ran in the Post in February.
Using the same attorneys as Guzman, Fenner has produced a 27-page complaint against the paper claiming the paper’s editors used “Jim Crow”-era tactics to keep him from entering the newsroom after he spoke out against the cartoon.
In his complaint, Fenner alleges that his experience at the Post</i was "marred by the pervasive discrimination and harassment" that he and other employees of color were allegedly subject. For example, Fenner claims he was forced to travel more often than his white counterparts and was denied resources, like a photographer to help him cover the president's inauguration in January. These claims, among others, may not be as salacious as Guzman's, which also focused on the blatant sexual harassment of the newsroom, but further emphasize the allegedly discriminatory nature of the publication.
Furthermore, Fenner claims that after he spoke out against the chimpanzee cartoon to the blog Journal-isms by saying it “churned my stomach when I saw it,” he was verbally abused by assignment editor Daniel Greenfield, who called the reporter yelling, “What the fuck are you doing?” and “What’s wrong with your ass?” in connection with another story Fenner was working on. While explosive blow-outs at high-pressure newsrooms are nothing new, what happened next was: not only did Greenfield not get reprimanded by his and Fenner’s direct supervisor and metropolitan editor Michelle Gotthelf, but Fenner was forbidden to enter the Post‘s offices for the remainder of his tenure at the publication, according to the complaint.
Fenner claims that this banishment severely affected his ability to do his job since he had no access to his phone, computer or desk at the newsroom, which all remained in service: something which has never been enacted on a white reporter, the complaint said. In his suit, Fenner also claims to have suffered “the shame and indignity of having to write his news stories in coffee shops and other public venues.” (Welcome to the club.)
A Post spokesperson did not return our requests for comment on Fenner’s complaint.
Read More: Austin Fenner, Ex-NY Post Employee, Sues The Paper, Charges Racism –Huffington Post