The New York Times responded to critics Thursday by defending a profile of far-right activist Gavin McInnes that ran in the paper earlier this week.
“We are always open to criticism, which helps us do better work. In this case, we disagree with the main points of criticism. Our story is an unflinching look at Gavin McInnes that directly addresses his racist, sexist and xenophobic comments as well as violence perpetrated by a group he actively leads,” a spokesperson told TheWrap.
“Some critics have suggested that the subject of this story should not receive any attention. The Times’ mission is to explain what is happening in the world. McInnes and his group were at the center of a news event that gained significant attention last week — a brawl outside a prominent Republican club in Manhattan. It’s our duty to delve into what occurred, and who was involved,” the statement continued.
McInnes, who leads the far-right group “The Proud Boys,” raised eyebrows after being invited to deliver remarks at the Manhattan Republican club Friday evening. Members of his group later scuffled with Antifa protesters outside the venue resulting in a flurry of media coverage. The Southern Poverty Law Center has described the Proud Boys as a “hate group.”
McInnes is also a co-founder of Vice Media, though he exited the company in 2008. He did not immediately respond to request for comment about his thoughts on the profile.
The Times piece, which described McInnes’ “egghead glasses, pocket-protector and heavy-drinking, angry-nerd aesthetic” came in for criticism from the usual suspects this week who argued that the Grey Lady was too soft in the profile.
Leading the criticism were journalists at the liberal HuffPost. Writer Andy Campbell attacked the piece as “tone deaf” and accused it “gloss[ing] over” key facts about McInnes’ sordid history.
“In a wildly tone-deaf profile of Gavin McInnes this week, The New York Times went to great lengths to avoid calling the Proud Boys founder a racist, sexist, fascist gang leader, even though he could be accurately described as all of these things,” Campbell wrote.