MANHATTAN (CN) – New York Post editor-in-chief Col Allan must answer questions he dodged during a seven-hour deposition on Valentine’s Day, 2012, a federal judge ruled. These include questions about dealing with Rupert Murdoch, a notorious “chimpanzee cartoon,” and nude photos that came out of former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey’s divorce proceedings
When she sued in 2009, Emmy Award-winning journalist Sandra Guzman said she was the national tabloid’s only female editor of color. Guzman also took credit for the paper’s El Tiempo section aimed at Latino readers.
Her 38-page complaint alleged that a top editor sexually harassed women, shared pornographic pictures on his cellphone and bragged about getting kicked out of the strip club Scores with “two Australian political leaders.”
Wide latitude in the Post newsroom for sexism, anti-Semitism and racism culminated with is publication of a cartoon that apparently portrayed President Barack Obama as a rabid chimpanzee on Feb. 18, 2009.
In the cartoon, two policemen look at a chimpanzee with two bullet holes in its chest, lying dead in a pool of blood.
One cop holds a smoking gun, and the other cop says, “They’ll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill.”
On Valentine’s Day, Col Allan submitted to a more than seven-hour deposition, in which he cited “editorial privilege” to avoid several questions about the cartoon.
U.S. District Judge Ronald L. Ellis rejected that position on Friday, quoting Guzman’s argument that “editorial privilege,” as distinguished from “journalistic privilege,” “has never been recognized by any court of record.”
As outlined in the judge’s order, Allan must answer the following questions:
“(1) Do you believe it was a mistake to publish that cartoon?
“(2) In light of your awareness after the monkey cartoon was published that black people had been portrayed as primates in this country, do you now believe it was a mistake to publish that cartoon?
“(3) What role did you have, sir [in publishing a response to the cartoon]?”
Allan must also testify about his discussions with Rupert Murdoch about the cartoon:
“(4) So tell us in substance what you said to your boss Rupert Murdoch about the monkey cartoon when he called you the day it was published?
“(5) So it was your understanding that Rupert Murdoch believed that it was a mistake to publish the cartoon?
“(6) Why [did you disagree with the decision to publish an apology in the Post]?
“(7) Did you tell Mr. Murdoch that you didn’t think it was a mistake for publishing the cartoon?
“(8) Did you tell Mr. Murdoch that you disagreed with apologizing for this publication?
“(9) What happened the following day [when Mr. Allan spoke to Mr. Murdoch about the cartoon]?
“(10) What did you say to [Mr. Murdoch] about the cartoon on that second call?”
Claiming sexual harassment, Guzman also alleged that Allan showed her a photograph of a nude man, which was eventually published in a series of nude, though censored, photographs related to former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey’s divorce proceedings.
After his long-time affair with a man became public, McGreevey resigned from office and divorced his wife, briefly becoming the first and only openly gay governor in the United States.
Referring to one redacted “McGreevey picture” that the Post published, Judge Ellis ordered Allan to answer, “Why was his waist covered up?”Allan will have two hours to answer these questions at a deposition.