New York Times White House reporter Glenn Thrush is the latest person caught in a sexual harassment scandal.
On Monday, after Vox published a story detailing an alleged history of Thrush making unwanted sexual advances, groping and kissing women, the New York Times wasted no time in suspending him.
“The behavior attributed to Glenn in this Vox story is very concerning and not in keeping with the standards and values of The New York Times,” senior vice president of communications, Eileen Murphy, said in a statement to Vox. “We intend to fully investigate and while we do, Glenn will be suspended.”
One woman, who remained anonymous, said Thrush, a frequent opponent of President Donald Trump, “left her in tears” on the corner of a D.C. street because she “she resisted his advances” after the two had drinks together.
She said Thrush “led her down an incline to a dimly lit path along the old C&O Canal bed. He kissed her, she says, and she panicked.”
The woman called an Uber to get her and, while she waited, “Thrush walked back over to her and started to kiss her again. She began to cry. When Thrush saw, he abruptly walked off, waving his hand flippantly, and left her alone to wait for her ride.”
The woman’s friend, reporter Bianca Padró Ocasio, reportedly exchanged text messages with Thrush the next day and he was defensive.
“I don’t lure anybody ever,” he allegedly texted. “I got drunk because I got some shitty health news. And I am acutely aware of the hurdles that young women face in this business and have spent the better part of 20 years advocating for women journalists.”
Thrush blamed the assault on being an alcoholic who was drunk at the time, said he had not had a drink since that assault, and that he would be going to counselling again.
“The June incident was a life-changing event [for me]. The woman involved was upset by my actions and for that, I am deeply sorry,” he wrote to Vox in a statement.
“Over the past several years, I have responded to a succession of personal and health crises by drinking heavily. During that period, I have done things that I am ashamed of, actions that have brought great hurt to my family and friends.
“I have not taken a drink since June 15, 2017, have resumed counseling and will soon begin outpatient treatment for alcoholism. I am working hard to repair the damage I have done,” he said.
Thrush also emailed the woman the next day with “Nice meeting you!” adding “(And apologies?).”
She replied telling him “It was nice meeting you too! (And no worries haha)” and met him weeks after the incident in a tea shop.
“I hate feeling obligated to make him think I think everything is fine,” she told him. “It’s been this thing hanging over me. I feel like I have to be nice to this person just because he knows people.”
A Politico reporter who also stayed anonymous, described an incident with Thrush following a Politico party, where Thrush worked before he joined the Times.
She said Thrush allegedly offered her a ride home from the party but it was far from innocent.
“I had alcohol blur,” she said. “I remember stopping him at one point and saying, ‘Wait, you’re married.’” After that, she said, he left almost immediately. “I remember that by the time he left, I didn’t have much clothes on.”
Laura McGann, the reporter who wrote the story, described her own experience as an alleged victim of Thrush.
“Five years ago, when Thrush and I were colleagues at Politico, I was in the same bar as Padró Ocasio’s friend — perhaps the same booth — when he caught me off guard, put his hand on my thigh, and suddenly started kissing me,” she said.
“On that night five years ago, I joined Thrush and a handful of other reporters for a few rounds at the Continental, a Politico hangout in Rosslyn, Virginia. At first, nothing seemed strange, until the crowd had dwindled down to Thrush, me, and one other female colleague,” McGann said, adding that she is still angry.
“Thrush tossed a $20 bill at her and told her to take a cab and leave us, ‘the grown-ups,’ alone. He slid into my side of the booth, blocking me in. I was wearing a skirt, and he put his hand on my thigh. He started kissing me. I pulled myself together and got out of there, shoving him on my way out,” she said.
Thrush apologized to the women in a statement to Vox.
“I apologize to any woman who felt uncomfortable in my presence, and for any situation where I behaved inappropriately. Any behavior that makes a woman feel disrespected or uncomfortable is unacceptable,” he said.
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