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LA Times Restaurant Critic Patricia Escárcega Exits After Pay Dispute

Escárcega was the only Latinx restaurant critic in the paper’s history

The Los Angeles Times’ restaurant co-critic, Patricia Escárcega, has exited the paper roughly five months after publicly accusing the Times of pay discrimination.

Escárcega did not disclose the reason for her departure, but in a lengthy thread shared to Twitter on Thursday, she reflected on being the only Latinx restaurant critic in the paper’s history and her desire to create a toolkit for women journalists of color “fighting for equity and space in today’s media landscape.”

“For me, this was more than a job. It was an undreamt of opportunity to produce important, culturally relevant journalism for Los Angeles. It was a chance to write about communities that have been historically overlooked, misunderstood, or outright shunned by previous generations of journalists,” she wrote in a series of tweets. “I hope I have not let you down.”

Last November, Escárcega disclosed that she filed a pay discrimination complaint with the L.A. Times Guild in early 2020 after discovering she was paid less than two-thirds of what her white colleague, co-critic Bill Addison, was making. Her complaint against the Times was widely shared on Twitter and Escárcega received support from figures like Julián Castro and “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat” author Samin Nosrat.

Escárcega joined the L.A. Times in 2018 from the Phoenix New Times to help bolster the paper’s food coverage and criticism after the death of Jonathan Gold. In early 2019, the Times relaunched its Food section under the leadership of Peter Meehan, who resigned last summer after being accused of sexual harassment and verbal abuse.

A spokesperson for the L.A. Times declined to comment on Escárcega’s departure. Escárcega did not immediately respond to a request for further comment.

You can read Escárcega’s full thread on Twitter here.

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