Truth does not equal a frothy, rage-baiting narrative. Guess we know which reporter Kate Kelly and The New York Times prefers.
The New York Times owes an apology to Javier Palomarez, the former President of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
In February 2018, The New York Times headlines helped force Palomarez out of his job as president of the chamber. The Times’s Kate Kelly reported the chamber was investigating Palomarez for alleged embezzlement and sexual harassment of one female employee five years earlier.
Social media lit up over the story with the #MeToo moniker, but the chamber itself cleared Palomarez of the embezzlement charges only days after Kelly’s article. The one woman who complained on Palomarez stayed with the Chamber five years longer, and only complained after she was fired.
In fact, the chamber found more than just innocence on the embezzlement charges. It found victimhood. Chamber records prove Palomarez’s boss, Nina Vaca, made the charges.
In response, Javier Palomarez filed in June a 50-million-dollar lawsuit against Nina Vaca for conspiracy, defamation, and emotional distress. Vaca was Palomarez’s boss as chairwoman of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation. She was also his one-time lover.
Palomarez says Vaca orchestrated a two-year vendetta against him after he ended an extramarital affair with her. Eyewitness affidavits attached to the lawsuit show a rare but clear example of sexual harassment and retaliation by a female boss.
The facts are clear for anyone willing to look, but it seems Palomarez’s story muddies up the #MeToo narrative too much for the Times to pay attention to his status as a victim of sexual harassment and retaliation.
The Times had every chance to report the tables turning but never took one.
Weeks before Palomarez filed his lawsuit against Vaca, The New York Times was offered sworn affidavits from eyewitnesses to Vaca’s affair and ensuing vendetta. The weekend before the lawsuit was filed, Kelly herself was offered an exclusive interview with Palomarez, but turned it down.
“Kate Kelly and The New York Times publicly shamed Javier Palomarez based solely on allegations made by Nina Vaca and spread by her liberal friends to the national media. They had an ethical obligation to let him tell his story, especially after he filed a public lawsuit with sworn testimony,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting, the Houston-based investigative communications firm. “They just ignored it. Guess it doesn’t fit the narrative.”
Dolcefino, a veteran investigative reporter with 30 Emmys to his name, expressed journalistic shock that Kelly wouldn’t even give Palomarez a chance to clear his name. Kelly gave the kind of response we’d expect from a Harvey Weinstein protégé who didn’t get a callback for a role.
“I am sorry you are disappointed.”
We should all be disappointed. That’s why we are crying foul and calling out Kelly by name. This behavior is the kind that erodes trust in media.
Journalists should follow stories where they lead, but The New York Times ignored Palomarez’s lawsuit, the petition, and his own allegations of sexual harassment. Considering the Times shotgunned the issue into the public eye in the first place, this is sloppy journalism at best and outright assassination at worst, and at the hands of a vengeful Vaca.
The Palomarez story should inspire a national conversation. Does the media care at all about sexual harassment and power abuses when the perpetrators are powerful women? Does it care enough to even find out?
Javier Palomarez chose to end his affair with Vaca to save his marriage of 37 years. Then he paid the price with a scorned boss’s allegations. That story ought to sound familiar – something like it allegedly happened to dozens of women The New York Times reported on as part of the #MeToo movement. Then it was news, but when Javier Palomarez makes similar claims, under oath, it’s not worth the time.
Had the Palomarez-Vaca saga been flipped, it would be front page news for The New York Times.
The New York Times can’t afford to see exposes as a waste of ink just because male victims screw up a popular, subscription-selling narrative. Palomarez and the public are owed better.