Wolfe was at the center of a viral firestorm last Tuesday over a celebratory tweet reacting to President Biden‘s arrival at Joint Base Andrews ahead of his inauguration, writing “I have chills.” It was later reported on Friday that the Times parted ways with Wolfe.
However, according to “senior” staffers at the Times who spoke to Vanity Fair, “Wolfe had previously been cautioned about her social media behavior.”
“A manager gave her a warning months ago after staffers expressed discomfort with certain tweets she was told bordered on being political,” Vanity Fair media correspondent Joe Pompeo wrote. “My sources emphasized that Wolfe was not a full Times employee—her position on the ‘flexible editing desk,’ which springs into action during heavy news cycles and staffing shortages, was a temporary one. But sources also told me… she was pursuing a full-time position on a newly created live-journalism team headed up by assistant managing editor Marc Lacey.”
“According to someone with knowledge of the phone call in which Wolfe was let go, she was told that her name and the Times’ name were in headlines all over the place, and ‘we can’t have that,'” Pompeo later wrote.
In a statement to Vanity Fair, which was also given to Fox News, a Times spokesperson said, “There’s a lot of inaccurate information circulating on Twitter. For privacy reasons we don’t get into the details of personnel matters but we can say that we didn’t end someone’s employment over a single tweet. Out of respect for the individuals involved, we don’t plan to comment further.”
Many have taken to social media to defend Wolfe and call on the Times to rehire hire while others suggested that various Times journalists have kept their jobs despite far worse offenses.
The NY Times Guild issued a statement on Sunday expressing solidarity with Wolfe, writing that her termination “was done outside of the just cause protections to our contract due to her classification as a casual [freelance] employee.”
Wolfe herself has been outspoken about the ordeal on Twitter over the past several days.
“Hard to fathom all the talk of ‘cancel culture’ on my timeline while I’m left without an income during a pandemic. I’m not an ideology, I’m a hard-working person who can no longer pay her bills,” Wolfe wrote on Saturday.
While much of her Twitter activity has been retweets of others who are defending her honor, Wolfe urged those who back her to not boycott the Times.
“Hi all. I truly appreciate everyone’s support but I need to ask you a favor: PLEASE don’t unsubscribe from @nytimes. I have loved this paper and its mission my whole life. Their journalism is some of the most important & best in the world, & they need to be read widely. Thank you,” Wolfe tweeted on Sunday.
The Wolfe saga began after she couldn’t resist tweeting out her reaction while watching CNN’s coverage of Biden’s plane landing on the tarmac.
“Biden landing at Joint Base Andrews now,” she wrote. “I have chills.”
She then knocked the Trump administration for apparently not providing a military plane to ferry Biden from Delaware.
“The pettiness of the Trump admin not sending a military plane to bring him to D.C. as is tradition is mortifying,” wrote Wolfe, who added, “Childish.”
The Times editor was mocked by critics, many of them invoking former MSNBC host Chris Matthew’s infamous “thrill up the leg” remark about President Obama.
Wolfe later deleted her tweet knocking the Trump administration after she was fact-checked by critics who cited reports that the Biden team was offered a military plane but chose to fly private.