Female Whistleblower Fired from the New Yorker After Calling Out Workplace Inequity

On July 25, 2022, Erin Overbey — a former archives editor at the New Yorker — took to Twitter to share news of her termination from the magazine. Overbey, who had previously spoken up about gender and race inequity within her work environment, was placed on “performance review” shortly after bringing up such issues. Less than a week later, she was terminated. Whistleblower attorney in New York, NY

Racial Inequality and Gender Disparity

Overbey has a history of being an outspoken critic regarding racism in the magazine industry. Last September, she used her platform on Twitter to directly criticize the New Yorker and the lack of diversity in her work field. In the lengthy Twitter thread, she writes, “White people are rarely actively racist at these publications. They simply never bother to challenge the status quo.” She places her then-magazine on the hot seat by tweeting the New Yorker’s diversity ratios, illustrating the scarce representation of authors of color in the publication. 

As a self-proclaimed “female whistleblower,” Overbey also openly criticized issues of sexism that she alleged existed within the culture of the New Yorker and the publication industry. On July 19, 2022, she took to Twitter again to share the sexism she endured firsthand. She tweeted, “Several yrs ago, when my @NewYorker newsletter hit a 70%+ unique open rate… I noted this accomplishment to a male icon of journalism. I was pleased by this feat & thought he would be, too. Instead, he turned to me & said, ‘Now don’t get cocky!’” Overbey went on to describe how this encounter would be uniquely understood by women, who are often told to downplay their professional accomplishments — something their male counterparts do not have to deal with. 

Potential Retaliation in the Workplace

Less than a week after Overbey brought up accusations of gender disparity against the Condé Nast-owned weekly, her tenure as an archives editor for over two decades at the magazine was terminated. According to a New York Post article written by Ariel Zilber and Alexandra Steigard, a source shared that Overbey was terminated for a “‘pattern of conduct’ that was deemed ‘disruptive to the operation of the Company’ and which ‘undermines the journalistic ethics of our magazine.’” The article also noted that Overbey was disciplined for “self-plagiarism.”

After her termination, Overbey used Twitter to speak out, accusing her former editor-in-chief, David Remnick, of purposely adding errors into her work. She further tweeted, “I was informed that having ‘stylistic disagreements’ with an editor is a sign of disrespect. I had not been aware of this.” Overbey highlights how coincidental it seemed for the magazine to put her on performance review immediately after she raised concerns about gender inequity. She plans to speak with her union about filing a grievance for the termination. 

In her long chain of tweets, she asserts, “Whenever you raise concerns, criticisms, or alarms about one of the most powerful institutions in the media, they will use every tool at their disposal to oppose you. That is their prerogative… But I will defend myself in the strongest of terms.” 

Seek Legal Assistance Today 

Do you believe you have experienced sexism or retaliation in the workplace? If so, seek legal assistance from employment lawyers at the Law Office of Christopher Q. Davis, located in New York City and in Livingston, New Jersey. Our employment lawyers specialize in many areas of the law. Whatever your employment issue is, please reach out for a consultation today. Contact us today at (646) 430-7930 to schedule a free case evaluation and receive experienced legal counsel.