‘New Yorker’ cuts ties with Ryan Lizza over allegations of improper sexual conduct

‘New Yorker’ cuts ties with Ryan Lizza over allegations of improper sexual conduct
Ryan Lizza attends the 2009 ‘New Yorker’ Festival at City Winery on Oct. 17, 2009 in New York City. Neilson Barnard/Getty Images
Ryan Lizza attends the 2009 ‘New Yorker’ Festival at City Winery on Oct. 17, 2009 in New York City. Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

The New Yorker has fired Washington correspondent Ryan Lizza over allegations of “improper sexual conduct,” making one of the magazine’s star reporters the latest in a slew of high-profile men in media who have lost their jobs over allegations of sexual misconduct or harassment.

“The New Yorker recently learned that Ryan Lizza engaged in what we believe was improper sexual conduct,” a spokesperson for the New Yorker said in a statement. “We have reviewed the matter and, as a result, have severed ties with Lizza. Due to a request for privacy, we are not commenting further.”

CNN, where Lizza often appeared an on-air contributor, said Monday that it would not have him on air until the matter was investigated further.

“We have just learned of the New Yorker’s decision,” a spokesperson for CNN said Monday afternoon. “Ryan Lizza will not appear on CNN while we look into this matter.”

In a statement to the Washington Post’s Erik Wemple, Lizza disputed the claims and criticized the New Yorker for its decision.

“I am dismayed that The New Yorker has decided to characterize a respectful relationship with a woman I dated as somehow inappropriate,” he said in the statement. “The New Yorker was unable to cite any company policy that was violated. I am sorry to my friends, workplace colleagues, and loved ones for any embarrassment this episode may cause. I love The New Yorker, my home for the last decade, and I have the highest regard for the people who work there. But this decision, which was made hastily and without a full investigation of the relevant facts, was a terrible mistake.”

The woman who has accused Lizza of misconduct has chosen to remain anonymous. Douglas Wigdor, the high-profile New York attorney who has brought nearly a dozen cases against Fox News in the last year, said Monday that his firm, Wigdor LLP, was representing her, and in a statement disputed Lizza’s claim that the relationship was “respectful.”

“Wigdor LLP represents the victim of Mr. Lizza’s misconduct. Although she desires to remain confidential and requests that her privacy be respected, in no way did Mr. Lizza’s misconduct constitute a ‘respectful relationship’ as he has now tried to characterize it. Our client reported Mr. Lizza’s actions to ensure that he would be held accountable and in the hope that by coming forward she would help other potential victims,” the statement reads.

Lizza, who had been a staff writer for The New Yorker since 2007, gained further national recognition in July when he published an expletive-laden interview with then-White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci, which promptly led to Scaramucci’s firing from the White House 10 days into his tenure.

In the jaw-dropping interview, Scaramucci said, among other things, that the White House’s former chief of staff Reince Priebus was a “fucking paranoid schizophrenic” and that former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon sucks his own “cock.”

Lizza is the latest high-profile male media figure to lose his job this year over allegations of sexual harassment or misconduct.