Decorated black journalist and lawyer Jami Floyd, 57, previously hosted New York Public Radio’s (NYPR) WNYC show “All Things Considered” and was director of the station’s Race and Justice unit. This Tuesday, outside the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Federal Courthouse in Manhattan, Floyd announced that she had abruptly resigned due to allegations of race, age, defamation and gender discrimination in the workplace.
“Let’s be clear, we are not talking about imaginary slights. We’re talking about specific alleged offensive and hostile acts that resulted in and are resulting in an adverse environment that blacks and browns are supposed to just eliminate,” Floyd told the presser.
A Manhattan native, Floyd grew up a few blocks from the courthouse and loved listening to public radio, she said. She had worked at NPR since 2015 and had been a freelance there since 2010. However, on Monday, the New York Post reported that WNYC had accused Floyd of 45 instances of plagiarism in online articles she had contributed to.
In response to Amsterdam News’ investigation, NYPR Vice President of Communications Jennifer Houlihan Roussel said that NYPR takes any allegations of discrimination, harassment and other violations of the organization’s policies seriously.
“We are reviewing Ms. Floyd’s statements today and will fully investigate them as appropriate,” Roussel said in an email. “We are committed to providing an inclusive and fair workplace for our employees. Making New York Public Radio a more welcoming work environment for people of all backgrounds is important to us and to our work. We have invested in this goal over the past few years and are committed to continuing to do so.
Roussel said Floyd was shown four articles found in the fall of 2021 and seven examples of unattributed words and phrases before his resignation. Roussel said the full findings of the investigation were due this week, and that Floyd had “admitted” to NYPR that the examples were unacceptable by editorial policies.
Floyd said she hadn’t seen any of those items and didn’t have a chance to review them when asked at the press conference.
“For years, black and brown people in general, and black women in particular, have had their careers derailed on New York Public Radio,” Floyd said in his presser.
Floyd, who was accompanied by her attorneys, sharply criticized her former employers for their lack of diversity and for not hiring full-time black reporters, that “bullies remain comfortably employed” at the station, and that her complaints have remained. dead letter, and that there have been cases of sexual assault. harassment that she had brought to the attention of management.
To clarify, Floyd does not mean that there are no black and brown staff, trustees, contract, freelance, or “per diem” reporters at the WNYC. Floyd said she has been agitated about the lack of hiring full-time black reporters in the newsroom since 2020. She said various candidates are interviewed but never hired. Floyd’s spokesman Mike Paul likened it to the NFL’s Rooney Rule which states that at least one person of color must be interviewed but succeeds in preventing women and minorities from being hired as coaches.
Floyd, on the advice of her attorneys, declined to describe specific events she intends to detail in her upcoming trial. She said she wanted to “change” and was not seeking monetary compensation at this time.
She lamented losing friends to stressful workplace practices, including her dear friend and fellow WNYC host Richard Hake. Hake was broadcasting from home when he accidentally passed away at the start of the pandemic in 2020.
On a separate note, Floyd said she plans to write a book dedicated to her personal hero, civil rights attorney and former Associate Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. She leaves the rest to her lawyers and moves on, she said.
Roussel argued that the station has made significant investments to create a newsroom that better reflects a diverse city. She said that over the past 18 months, the newsroom has hired a number of highly skilled people of color and diversity has increased by 10% over that time.
Roussel added that the newsroom leadership is 60% people of color and that they had recently promoted Floyd, among five other black journalists, to higher positions.
Ariama C. Long is a member of the Report for America corps and writes about New York culture and politics for The Amsterdam News. Your donation to match our RFA grant helps him keep writing stories like this; please consider making a tax deductible donation of any amount today by visiting: https://tinyurl.com/fcszwj8w