NYT protects the identity of reporter rebuked for whisper campaign calling Melania Trump a ‘hooker’

The New York Times has publicly acknowledged that one of its reporters passed on what it calls an "unfounded rumor" that defames the first lady of the United States:

Editors at the New York Times have reprimanded a reporter for referring to first lady Melania Trump as a "hooker" at an event Sunday night, calling the remarks "completely inappropriate."

The reporter in question, who has not been identified by the paper, came under fire Monday morning after supermodel Emily Ratajkowski made the reporter's remarks public in a series of tweets. Ratajkowski, who said the reporter made the remarks while sitting next to her at a New York Fashion Week event, called the comment "disgusting sexist [b-------]."

"At a party last night, a Times reporter who does not cover Washington or politics, referred to an unfounded rumor regarding Melania Trump," a Times spokesperson said in a statement to POLITICO. "The comment was not intended to be public, but it was nonetheless completely inappropriate and should not have occurred. Editors have talked to the reporter in question about the lapse."

Another way to characterize the widespread passing along of slanderous rumors is "whisper campaign."  There are few better opportunities to spread hot insider gossip to an audience hostile to the Trump presidency than Fashion Week.

The name of the reporter is being withheld, and there is no evidence that any punishment was exacted for what was merely "inappropriate."

Mrs. Trump already is suing the U.K. Daily Mail, and British libel laws are far stricter than ours.  As a public figure, she has little protection, so suing the reporter for slander, and demanding his or her or ze's name from the Times, might not be productive.

The New York Times has publicly acknowledged that one of its reporters passed on what it calls an "unfounded rumor" that defames the first lady of the United States:

Editors at the New York Times have reprimanded a reporter for referring to first lady Melania Trump as a "hooker" at an event Sunday night, calling the remarks "completely inappropriate."

The reporter in question, who has not been identified by the paper, came under fire Monday morning after supermodel Emily Ratajkowski made the reporter's remarks public in a series of tweets. Ratajkowski, who said the reporter made the remarks while sitting next to her at a New York Fashion Week event, called the comment "disgusting sexist [b-------]."

"At a party last night, a Times reporter who does not cover Washington or politics, referred to an unfounded rumor regarding Melania Trump," a Times spokesperson said in a statement to POLITICO. "The comment was not intended to be public, but it was nonetheless completely inappropriate and should not have occurred. Editors have talked to the reporter in question about the lapse."

Another way to characterize the widespread passing along of slanderous rumors is "whisper campaign."  There are few better opportunities to spread hot insider gossip to an audience hostile to the Trump presidency than Fashion Week.

The name of the reporter is being withheld, and there is no evidence that any punishment was exacted for what was merely "inappropriate."

Mrs. Trump already is suing the U.K. Daily Mail, and British libel laws are far stricter than ours.  As a public figure, she has little protection, so suing the reporter for slander, and demanding his or her or ze's name from the Times, might not be productive.

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