Jill Abramson: I'm Not Removing My New York Times Tattoo

Ousted Times Editor Gave Wake Forest Commencement Address Monday

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Jill Abramson at Wake Forest University today.
Jill Abramson at Wake Forest University today.

Jill Abramson made her first public appearance Monday morning since her ouster as executive editor of The New York Times, delivering the commencement address at Wake Forest University.

Ms. Abramson spoke about her dismissal mostly in broad terms, offering themes about overcoming adversity and apologizing for the small media circus that followed her to Wake Forest's North Carolina campus. It was a potential distraction from the actual graduation, she said.

Her most specific reference to the Times came as she recounted a question that one student had asked earlier about whether she plans to remove the New York Times "T" symbol she recently tattooed on her shoulder. "Not a chance," she said.

Times Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. dismissed Ms. Abramson last Wednesday, citing his "concerns about some aspects of Jill's management of our newsroom." He issued a lengthy a statement on Saturday in an attempt to squelch persistent reports that Ms. Abramson was paid less than her male colleagues and that she was generally treated differently because of her gender.

"During her tenure, I heard repeatedly from her newsroom colleagues, women and men, about a series of issues, including arbitrary decision-making, a failure to consult and bring colleagues with her, inadequate communication and the public mistreatment of colleagues," Mr. Sulzberger said.

Ms. Abramson, the paper's first female executive editor, was replaced by her No. 2, Dean Baquet, who is now the Times' first African-American editor.

Aside from a prepared statement on the day of her dismissal, Ms. Abramson has not publicly responded to any of the reports about her ouster nor Mr. Sulzberger's statement on Saturday.

She closed her remarks to the Wake Forest students with a note of levity. "What's next for me?" She asked. "I don't know. So I'm in exactly the same boat as many of you. Like you, I'm a little scared, but also excited."

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