The New York Times has been pushed to the brink of crisis several times of late as internal strife has shaken its newsroom.
From writer Bari Weiss resigning after her own colleagues publicly protested her hiring to the opinion editor James Bennet being forced to step down amid a another staff outcry over an op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton, the Gray Lady’s strength has been tested again and again.
But on Thursday the most shocking fracture yet emerged — when the paper’s official word-puzzles Twitter account broke ranks with the editor of the popular Spelling Bee game, Sam Ezersky, and publicly came out against him.
The stunning schism began when actress J. Smith-Cameron, who plays hard-nosed executive Gerri on HBO’s “Succession” tweeted at Ezersky — who had, in a staggering failure of either judgement, competence or moral rigor, neglected to include the word “undaunted” as one of the acceptable answers in Thursday’s puzzle — saying, “Hey @thegridkid, there’s an absolutely valid word the Bee won’t accept and I’m annoyed. But UNDAUNTED.”
Then, in the kind of ugly public rift that is at once breathtaking and all too familiar at the Times, the blue check-marked @NYTimesWordplay account tweeted a meme from “Succession” at Smith-Cameron with the words, “I don’t like to take sides. But I’m on your side.”
More heads must surely roll if the word-game establishment is to piece itself back together.
The New York Times declined to comment.