Globe execs probing McGrory text allegations

Top officials talked to editor, reached out to former reporter

THE BOSTON GLOBE’s top officials told staffers on Wednesday that they are investigating allegations that editor Brian McGrory sent an inappropriate text to a former reporter but so far have taken no action or revealed what they have learned. The officials said they have not been able to determine when the text exchange took place.

In a memo to staff, first reported by Dan Kennedy on his Media Nation blog, managing director Linda Pizzuti Henry and president Vinay Mehra said they talked to McGrory about the allegations and have “reached out” to Hilary Sargent, who on Sunday posted on Twitter a screen grab of the message that she says came from McGrory during a discussion about a story.

The memo was released after days of tweets from Sargent and growing interest from media, first from small websites and sports talk radio and then from more mainstream media. The Globe published its first story on the matter Wednesday, including details of a memo in which McGrory said he couldn’t remember the text and that he and Sargent used to date. He also said he had never harassed any woman.

When we first learned about this social media discussion, we began investigating to gather as much relevant information as we could,” said the memo form Pizzuti Henry, the wife of owner John Henry, and Mehra. “We discussed the issue with Mr. McGrory in an attempt to understand both the nature of any exchanges between the two parties and also whether or not these exchanges occurred during her employment. We also reached out to Ms. Sargent, the former employee, to ascertain the timing and context of the text in question. At this time it is still unclear when these exchanges took place.”

A spokeswoman would not comment on how the Globe reached out to Sargent and whether she responded. Sargent declined comment.

Sargent has criticized the Globe over its lack of coverage of its own issues of sexual harassment while putting a spotlight on those of others. When she first posted the text message image, the name and date of the sender was cropped out and she did not identify who the discussion was with.

“I imagine there are people who can sit down and with enough time just write something,” Sargent wrote in her part of the text. “But I need a draft and then a day and then I’ll add something and then a day and so on. I need time but only time if I start with a draft.”

“Got it,” the person responded. “What do you generally wear when you write?”

“Seriously?” Sargent responded.

“Well, not entirely,” the other person sent back.

Sargent later identified McGrory as the other person in the conversation and wrote a scathing comment about “powerful” men taking advantage of women they oversee.

“It never occurs to men like @GlobeMcGrory (see text) that we actually *are* looking for advice about WRITING, that maybe we don’t want to be asked what we are wearing while we write, that maybe we want to work, to be journalists,” Sargent wrote. “And yes, in case it isn’t clear, I mean @GlobeMcGrory texted this to me.”

In the memo, Pizzuti Henry and Mehra acknowledged some issues that had been raised about the Globe’s lack of transparency last fall when it tried to keep quiet an incident involving a State House reporter who was forced to resign after sending lewd texts to women on Beacon Hill.

Meet the Author

Jack Sullivan

Senior Investigative Reporter, CommonWealth

About Jack Sullivan

Jack Sullivan is now retired. A veteran of the Boston newspaper scene for nearly three decades. Prior to joining CommonWealth, he was editorial page editor of The Patriot Ledger in Quincy, a part of the GateHouse Media chain. Prior to that he was news editor at another GateHouse paper, The Enterprise of Brockton, and also was city edition editor at the Ledger. Jack was an investigative and enterprise reporter and executive city editor at the Boston Herald and a reporter at The Boston Globe.

He has reported stories such as the federal investigation into the Teamsters, the workings of the Yawkey Trust and sale of the Red Sox, organized crime, the church sex abuse scandal and the September 11 terrorist attacks. He has covered the State House, state and local politics, K-16 education, courts, crime, and general assignment.

Jack received the New England Press Association award for investigative reporting for a series on unused properties owned by the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, and shared the association's award for business for his reporting on the sale of the Boston Red Sox. As the Ledger editorial page editor, he won second place in 2007 for editorial writing from the Inland Press Association, the nation's oldest national journalism association of nearly 900 newspapers as members.

At CommonWealth, Jack and editor Bruce Mohl won first place for In-Depth Reporting from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors for a look at special education funding in Massachusetts. The same organization also awarded first place to a unique collaboration between WFXT-TV (FOX25) and CommonWealth for a series of stories on the Boston Redevelopment Authority and city employees getting affordable housing units, written by Jack and Bruce.

About Jack Sullivan

Jack Sullivan is now retired. A veteran of the Boston newspaper scene for nearly three decades. Prior to joining CommonWealth, he was editorial page editor of The Patriot Ledger in Quincy, a part of the GateHouse Media chain. Prior to that he was news editor at another GateHouse paper, The Enterprise of Brockton, and also was city edition editor at the Ledger. Jack was an investigative and enterprise reporter and executive city editor at the Boston Herald and a reporter at The Boston Globe.

He has reported stories such as the federal investigation into the Teamsters, the workings of the Yawkey Trust and sale of the Red Sox, organized crime, the church sex abuse scandal and the September 11 terrorist attacks. He has covered the State House, state and local politics, K-16 education, courts, crime, and general assignment.

Jack received the New England Press Association award for investigative reporting for a series on unused properties owned by the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, and shared the association's award for business for his reporting on the sale of the Boston Red Sox. As the Ledger editorial page editor, he won second place in 2007 for editorial writing from the Inland Press Association, the nation's oldest national journalism association of nearly 900 newspapers as members.

At CommonWealth, Jack and editor Bruce Mohl won first place for In-Depth Reporting from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors for a look at special education funding in Massachusetts. The same organization also awarded first place to a unique collaboration between WFXT-TV (FOX25) and CommonWealth for a series of stories on the Boston Redevelopment Authority and city employees getting affordable housing units, written by Jack and Bruce.

“As we discussed last fall and at the last newsroom Town Hall, we are deeply committed to creating a safe, comfortable, welcoming working environment for all employees,” the executives wrote in the memo. “We have multiple avenues for employees to use to escalate concerns and will work to expeditiously address any issues raised going forward or looking back. This issue is no exception.”

The memo promised a resolution “soon” but put no timetable on it.