Monday, January 10, 2005

TIMES COMPANY, METRO RESPOND. Here is a statement from the New York Times Company and the Boston Globe regarding Rory O'Connor's article on about alleged racism and sexism at Metro International:

The New York Times Company and The Boston Globe have received reports of inappropriate comments on the part of Metro USA and are discussing these allegations with Metro USA's management. The Times Company is committed to fair treatment of all employees based on respect, accountability and standards of excellence.

And here is a statement from Ken Frydman, on behalf of Metro International:

On two occasions two years ago, officers of Metro International made public statements quoting other people who had made racially disparaging remarks. In neither case was the Metro employee expressing his own views and sentiments or those of Metro International.

In one case, a Metro officer, speaking at an internal conference, was asked to translate aloud into English a joke that had been handed to him by another Metro employee. As he concentrated on translating the joke to a foreign language, the Metro officer realized, to his dismay, that he had unintentionally made an offensive racial reference. The Metro officer, Steve Nylund, was rebuked by Metro's CEO for reading the joke and Mr. Nylund has since expressed his deep regret at having been led to make a comment that does not reflect his views and that he finds offensive. "The comment was made unintentionally during my translation," Nylund said. "Nevertheless, I deeply regret having offended anyone and I apologize."

The Metro employee who forwarded the offensive joke to Mr. Nylund is no longer with the company.

In the other case, a Metro officer, in a public attempt at self-deprecation, opened an internal meeting by citing an offensive salutation attributed to a German official. That salutation included a racially offensive word, which the officer awkwardly and inappropriately repeated by way of illustrating his contention that his countrymen were inept at public speaking. The Metro officer was reprimanded by a senior Metro officer and has expressed his regret at repeating a word he personally finds offensive.

While these isolated remarks do not in any way reflect the views of the company, Metro nevertheless apologizes for them. Neither incident should be viewed as a commentary on the commitment to diversity and tolerance of Metro International.

As to the false charges about the gender and racial makeup of Metro's workforce, Metro International categorically denies recently published allegations that a culture of racism and sexism exists at Metro. The company has a commitment to hiring and promoting without regard to race, religion, sex, or creed; employees who violate Metro's diversity policy are subject to severe penalties. Metro employs senior executives of many ethnicities and cultures as well as women in such senior positions as Publisher and Senior Vice President for Business Development. In addition, in The United States, Metro employs African-American, Asian-American and Hispanic employees in senior editorial and business positions, including Production Director and Marketing Director.

As the world's leading free daily newspaper group, Metro ( publishes 42 newspaper editions in 16 languages that reach more than 14.5 million daily readers and 32 million weekly readers in 63 major cities throughout 17 countries covering Europe, North and South America and Asia.


Anonymous said...

Well, that certainly seems like an intelligent, well-reasoned explanation of what could be a very unpleasant situation.

Except the Boston Herald is treating this as the 12th sign of the apocalypse - seen their front page today?

Except the Herald has plenty of good reason to see the Metro fail - it's been taking a big bite out of the Herald's business, and the Herald is notorious for this kind of tabloid journalism anyway.

Except, of course, I know better than to trust any public statement out of a company that faces a huge public dopeslap for having (allegedly) done something really stupid...

Whom to believe, whom to believe...?

- Aaron Read

Scott said...

An intelligent, well-reasoned explanation?! Did you read the original article? Every table was to prepare a joke AHEAD of time to share with the assembly. Furthermore, Nylundh's joke was long and protracted, with SEVERAL uses of the word "nigger".

This was not a case of someone slowly translating from a card and realizing in horror what they're reading.

This was a case of someone cavalierly spewing vitriol and the rest of the room realizing in horror what they were hearing.

Is the Metro's corporate symbol a swastika?

Anonymous said...

Me thinks many a non-nazis have used the n-word, so the swastiska jab seems pretty gratuitous.

This is what happens when you're from a country where one of the favorite pastries is known as negro balls. Throw in the cockiness of Stockholm's hip and happening black-plastic crowd from Cafe Opera and you get some real whoppers born out of affluent insularity.

But am I the only person who's equally shocked by the fact that the guy tells a joke about guys hauling out their dicks? At a business function? That's pretty studentikost.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I sometimes forget that sarcasm doesn't translate well into blogging. Anyways, the explanation does *SEEM* intelligent and well-reasoned, but I should have made more clear that I don't think it actually is.

FWIW, the Metro is on my sh*t-list anyway because they threatened legal action to force BU's student paper (Daily Free Press) to stop calling themselves "Boston's Third Largest Daily Paper". I have a lot of issues with BU, but it's still me alma mater...and I thought that was a real cheap shot by the Metro.

- Aaron Read

Anonymous said...

Newspapers having a pissing contest is the most annoying thing to read in a newspaper. What happened to the news?