Slate Suspends Podcast Host Mike Pesca After Debate Over N-Word

Comments came during discussion of former NY Times reporter Donald McNeil Jr., Defector reported Monday

Last Updated: February 23, 2021 @ 6:57 AM

Slate has indefinitely suspended Mike Pesca, host of the popular podcast “The Gist,” pending an investigation into his workplace behavior stemming from an internal debate over the use of the n-word by white people.

According to Defector, which first reported Pesca’s suspension, the action stemmed from comments Pesca made last week during a conversation about former New York Times reporter Donald McNeil, who resigned after he was accused of using the n-word and making sexist and racist comments in front of a group of high school students on a 2019 trip to Peru.

However, Slate told TheWrap that this incident was not the sole basis for Pesca’s suspension.

“While I can’t get into specific allegations that are under investigation, I can confirm this was not a decision based around making an isolated abstract argument in a Slack channel. After additional issues were raised by staff, we felt it was appropriate to take further action and indefinitely suspend the show pending an investigation,” Katie Rayford, director of Media Relations at Slate, said in a statement provided to TheWrap.

Slate did not elaborate on what those are issues were.

The New York Times, citing screen shots of a Slack conversation it obtained, said Pesca defended certain instances in which white people used the slur, at which point Slate CEO Dan Check shut down the discussion.