|Alma mater||Columbia University|
|Employer||The Wall Street Journal (2013–2017)|
The New York Times (2017–2020)
(m. 2013; div. 2016)
Bari Weiss is an American opinion writer and editor. From 2013 until 2017 she was an op-ed and book review editor at The Wall Street Journal. From 2017 to 2020, Weiss was an op-ed staff editor and writer about culture and politics at The New York Times.
Early life and education
Bari Weiss was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Lou (a carpet salesman) and Amy Weiss (a department store makeup buyer). She grew up in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood, and graduated from Pittsburgh's Community Day School and Shady Side Academy. The eldest of four sisters, she attended the Tree of Life Synagogue and had her bat mitzvah ceremony there. After high school, Weiss went to Israel on a Nativ gap year program, helping build a medical clinic for Bedouin in the Negev desert, and studying at a feminist yeshiva and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Weiss attended Columbia University in New York City, graduating in 2007. She founded the Columbia Coalition for Sudan in response to the War in Darfur. Weiss was the founding editor from 2005 to 2007 of The Current, a magazine at Columbia for politics, culture, and Jewish affairs. Following graduation, Weiss was a Wall Street Journal Bartley Fellow in 2007, and a Dorot Fellow from 2007 to 2008 in Jerusalem.
Columbians for Academic Freedom
As a student at Columbia, Weiss took an active role in the Columbia Unbecoming controversy. Following the release of the film Columbia Unbecoming in fall 2004, alleging classroom intimidation of pro-Israel students by pro-Palestinian professors, she co-founded Columbians for Academic Freedom (CAF) togther with Aharon Horwitz, Daniella Kahane, and Ariel Beery. Weiss said she had felt intimidated by professor Joseph Massad in his lectures, and she thought he spent too much time talking about Zionism and Israel for a course about the entire Middle East.
In response to the release of the film, Columbia put together a committee to examine the allegations. The committee exonerated the accused professors, but also criticized a lack of civility on campus, including from pro-Israel students who heckled some of their professors. Weiss criticized the committee for its focus on individual grievances, and maintained that students were intimidated because of their views.
In her 2019 book, How to Fight Anti-Semitism, Weiss describes the contentious atmosphere during this period as giving her "a front row seat to leftist anti-Semitism" at the university.:94 The activism initiated by Weiss was alleged by Glenn Greenwald to be "designed to ruin the careers of Arab professors by equating their criticisms of Israel with racism, anti-Semitism, and bullying, and its central demand was that those professors (some of whom lacked tenure) be disciplined for their transgressions." Weiss has called Greenwald's characterizations "baseless", saying that she "advocated for the rights of students to express their viewpoints in the classroom", adding, "I don't know when criticizing professors became out of bounds."
In 2007, Weiss worked for Haaretz and The Forward. In Haaretz, she criticized the tenure promotion of Barnard College anthropologist Nadia Abu El-Haj over a book that Weiss alleged caricatured Israeli archaeologists. From 2011 to 2013, Weiss was senior news and politics editor at Tablet.
2013–2017: The Wall Street Journal
Weiss was an op-ed and book review editor at The Wall Street Journal from 2013 until April 2017. She left following the departure of Pulitzer Prize winner and deputy editor Bret Stephens, for whom she had worked, and joined him at The New York Times.
2017–2020: The New York Times
In 2017, as part of an effort by The New York Times to broaden the ideological range of its opinion staff after the inauguration of President Trump, the paper hired Weiss as an op-ed staff editor and writer about culture and politics. Through her first year at the paper, she wrote opinion pieces advocating for the blending of cultural influences, something derided by what she termed the "strident left" as cultural appropriation. She criticized the organizers of the 2017 Women's March protesting the inauguration of President Trump for their "chilling ideas and associations", particularly singling out several individuals she believed to have made antisemitic or anti-Zionist statements in the past. Her article about the Chicago Dyke March, asserting that intersectionality is a "caste system, in which people are judged according to how much their particular caste has suffered throughout history," was condemned by playwright Eve Ensler, creator of the Vagina Monologues, for misunderstanding the work of intersectional politics. Other sources condemned the article as fundamentally misunderstanding the definition of intersectionality.
On January 15, 2018, Weiss wrote an opinion piece titled "Aziz Ansari Is Guilty. Of Not Being a Mind Reader." in response to an article published in Babe.net where an anonymous woman detailed an alleged sexual assault by comedian and actor Aziz Ansari. In the piece, Weiss claimed that the anonymous woman should have taken further steps to avoid unwanted sexual contact with Ansari and said that her experience was merely “bad sex.” The piece received criticism from several sources that said Weiss ignored the many realities women face in unwanted sexual encounters and ignored that at one point in the encounter, the alleged victim did ask Ansari to cease contact
In May 2018, Weiss published "Meet the Renegades of the Intellectual Dark Web". This piece profiled a collection of thinkers who share an unorthodox approach to their fields and to the media landscape. Weiss collectively described them as the Intellectual Dark Web, borrowing the term from Eric Weinstein, managing director of Thiel Capital. Outlets have commented on and critiqued the label through 2020.
On June 7, 2020, the Times editorial page editor, James Bennet, resigned after more than 1,000 staffers signed a letter protesting his publication of an op-ed by U.S. Senator Tom Cotton saying that since "rioters have plunged many American cities into anarchy", soldiers should be sent as backup for the police to end the violence. Bennet later stated he had not read the op-ed beforehand. Weiss characterized the internal controversy as an ongoing "civil war" between what she called young "social justice warriors" and what she identified as older, "free speech advocate", staffers. This characterization was disputed by numerous other journalists and opinion-writers at the Times; Taylor Lorenz, a technology reporter who covers internet culture, described it as a "willful misrepresentation" that ignored the numerous older staffers who had spoken out, while Jamal Jordan, the Times' digital storytelling editor, criticized her for not listening to her black colleagues and instead dismissing their concerns as a "woke civil war".
2020: Resignation from The New York Times
Weiss announced her departure from The New York Times on July 14, 2020, publishing a resignation letter on her website in which she criticized the Times for capitulating to criticism on Twitter, and for not supporting her when she was bullied by her colleagues. Weiss wrote that consensus at the Times had become "that truth isn’t a process of collective discovery, but an orthodoxy already known to an enlightened few whose job is to inform everyone else." Weiss accused her former employer of "unlawful discrimination, hostile work environment, and constructive discharge".
In her letter Weiss said, "Stories are chosen and told in a way to satisfy the narrowest of audiences, rather than to allow a curious public to read about the world and then draw their own conclusions." She also wrote, "Twitter is not on the masthead of The New York Times, but Twitter has become its ultimate editor."
Her letter was praised by U.S. Senators Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Kelly Loeffler, Donald Trump Jr., political commentator Ben Shapiro, former Democratic presidential candidates Andrew Yang and Marianne Williamson, and political commentator Bill Maher.
Weiss has been described as conservative by Haaretz, The Times of Israel, The Daily Dot, and Business Insider. In an interview with Joe Rogan, she described herself as a "left-leaning centrist". According to The Washington Post, Weiss "portrays herself as a liberal uncomfortable with the excesses of left-wing culture," and has sought to "position herself as a reasonable liberal concerned that far-left critiques stifled free speech." Vanity Fair has described Weiss as being "a provocateur". The Jewish Telegraphic Agency said that her writing "doesn't lend itself easily to labels."
Weiss has expressed support for Israel and Zionism in her columns. When writer Andrew Sullivan described her as an "unhinged Zionist", she responded saying she "happily plead[s] guilty as charged." In 2018, she said she believed the sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh, but questioned whether they should disqualify him from serving on the Supreme Court because he was 17 when he allegedly committed the assault against Christine Blasey Ford. After backlash in the press, Weiss conceded that her sound bite was glib and simplistic, and said instead that Kavanaugh's rage-filled behavior before the Senate Judiciary Committee should have disqualified him. Also in 2018, she criticized the #MeToo Movement.
Following the Tree of Life synagogue massacre in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, Weiss was a guest on Real Time with Bill Maher in early November 2018. She said of American Jews who support President Donald Trump: "I hope this week that American Jews have woken up to the price of that bargain: They have traded policies that they like for the values that have sustained the Jewish people—and frankly, this country—forever: Welcoming the stranger; dignity for all human beings; equality under the law; respect for dissent; love of truth." In 2019, The Jerusalem Post named Weiss the seventh most influential Jew in the world.
While attending Columbia University, she had an on and off relationship with comedian Kate McKinnon. She also dated Ariel Beery, with whom she had co-founded Columbians for Academic Freedom. From 2013 to 2016, Weiss was married to environmental engineer Jason Kass, the founder of Toilets for People, a company designing and manufacturing waterless self contained composting toilets. Weiss prefers not to label her sexual orientation but has stated that she is mostly attracted to women, though had been married to a man. Since 2018, Weiss has been in a relationship with Nellie Bowles, the Times's tech reporter.
- How to Fight Anti-Semitism, published in September 2019
- The New Seven Dirty Words. scheduled for publication 2020
- 2018: Reason Foundation’s Bastiat Prize, which honors writing that "best demonstrates the importance of freedom with originality, wit and eloquence."
- 2019: National Jewish Book Award in Contemporary Jewish Life and Practice for How to Fight Anti-Semitism
- Izadi, Elahe; Barr, Jeremy (July 14, 2020). "Bari Weiss resigns from New York Times, says 'Twitter has become its ultimate editor'". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 14, 2020.
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- "Columbia University Responds to Anti-Semitism Charges". NPR. April 1, 2005. Retrieved July 23, 2020.
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- Weiss, Bari (2019). How to Fight Anti-Semitism. Crown/Archetype. ISBN 9780593136058. Retrieved January 10, 2020.
- Greenwald, Glenn (March 8, 2018). "NYT's Bari Weiss Falsely Denies Her Years of Attacks on the Academic Freedom of Arab Scholars Who Criticize Israel". The Intercept. Retrieved July 23, 2020.
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- Steed, Edward (December 20, 2017). "On the Front Lines of the GOP's Civil War". Esquire. Retrieved July 15, 2020.
- Lee, Edmund (July 14, 2020). "Bari Weiss Resigns From New York Times Opinion Post". The New York Times. Retrieved July 14, 2020.
- Weiss, Bari (August 30, 2017). "Opinion | Three Cheers for Cultural Appropriation". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved July 15, 2020.
- Weiss, Bari (August 1, 2017). "Opinion | When Progressives Embrace Hate". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved July 15, 2020.
- Weiss, Bari (June 27, 2017). "Opinion | I'm Glad the Dyke March Banned Jewish Stars". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved July 15, 2020.
- "Opinion | On 'Intersectionality'". The New York Times. July 3, 2017. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved July 15, 2020.
- "Oh Cute, the New York Times Is Endorsing Cultural Appropriation". The Muse. Retrieved August 12, 2020.
- "Power-Serving Pundits Continue McCarthyite Smears Against Women's March". Alternet.org. August 3, 2017. Retrieved August 12, 2020.
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- Cruz, About Crystal Contreras Crystal Contreras is from a tiny farm town in northern California She graduated from UC Santa; Rock, Has a Fondness for Classic. "Recent New York Times Opinion Piece, Citing Kooks Burritos, Completely Misses the Mark on Cultural Appropriation". Willamette Week. Retrieved August 12, 2020.
- Weiss, Bari (January 15, 2018). "Opinion | Aziz Ansari Is Guilty. Of Not Being a Mind Reader". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 12, 2020.
- Garber, Megan (January 16, 2018). "Aziz Ansari and the Paradox of 'No'". The Atlantic. Retrieved August 12, 2020.
- Framke, Caroline (January 17, 2018). "How the Aziz Ansari story deepened a crucial divide in the #MeToo reckoning". Vox. Retrieved August 12, 2020.
- Gil, Natalie. "The Debate About Aziz Ansari & Consent Just Got Even More Heated". www.refinery29.com. Retrieved August 12, 2020.
- "Opinion | A Sexual Encounter, and a Dispute". The New York Times. January 19, 2018. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 12, 2020.
- Goldberg, Jonah (May 8, 2018). "Evaluating the 'Intellectual Dark Web'". National Review.
- Sixsmith, Ben (May 8, 2020). "An autopsy of the Intellectual Dark Web". Spectator USA.
- Savage, Luke (July 13, 2020). "The Intellectual Dark Web's "Maverick Free Thinkers" Are Just Defenders of the Status Quo". Jacobin Magazine.
- Beauchamp, Zack (June 5, 2020). "The New York Times staff revolt over Tom Cotton's op-ed, explained". Vox. Retrieved June 9, 2020.
- Robinson, Nathan J. (May 9, 2018). "Pretty Loud For Being So Silenced | Current Affairs". Current Affairs.
- Klar, Rebecca (June 7, 2020). "NYT editorial page director resigns after Tom Cotton op-ed controversy". TheHill. Retrieved June 9, 2020.
- Weiss, Bari. "Resignation Letter". bariweiss.com. Retrieved July 16, 2020.
- Darcy, Oliver (July 14, 2020). "Controversial opinion writer Bari Weiss resigns from The New York Times, blasting paper for". CNN Business. Cable News Network.Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. Retrieved July 14, 2020.
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- Relman, Oma Seddiq, Eliza. "Donald Trump Jr., Ted Cruz, and other top Republicans praise New York Times editor Bari Weiss' resignation letter slamming the paper". Business Insider. Retrieved July 15, 2020.
- Sobel, Ariel (July 14, 2020). "Andrew Yang, Donald Trump Jr., and NY Times Staff React to Bari Weiss' Resignation". jewishjournal.com. Retrieved July 14, 2020.
- Miller, Judith (July 14, 2020). "The Illiberal Liberal Media". City Journal. Retrieved July 14, 2020.
- Saad, Nardine (July 14, 2020). "Journalist Bari Weiss skewers New York Times in her resignation letter". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 14, 2020.
- "Conservative, Jewish NY Times columnists slam Israel for BDS 'paranoia'". The Times of Israel. October 10, 2018. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
- Cagle, Tess (May 19, 2018). "Conservative columnist says the NRA has Trump 'grabbed by the p***y'". The Daily Dot. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
- Relman, Eliza (September 19, 2018). "New York Times opinion writer Bari Weiss slammed for questioning whether sexual assault should disqualify Kavanaugh from Supreme Court". Business Insider. Retrieved December 11, 2018.
- Landau, Noa (October 10, 2018). "Leading Conservative NYT Columnists Slam Israel Over Detention of U.S. Student". Haaretz. Retrieved January 4, 2019.
- JRE Clips. "Joe Rogan on the "MAGA" Kids Controversy". Retrieved January 22, 2019.
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- Barr, Elahe Izadi and Jeremy (July 14, 2020). "Opinion writer Weiss resigns from New York Times, says 'Twitter has become its ultimate editor'". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 14, 2020.
- Dolsten, Josefin (February 2, 2018). "How New York Times editor Bari Weiss found herself at the center of the #MeToo debate". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
- Bret Stephens and Bari Weiss. "Opinion | Why Is Israel Scared of This Young American?". The New York Times. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
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- "Weiss to Maher: U.S. Jews Traded Trump Their Values for Israel - After Pittsburgh We Know It's Not Worth It". Haaretz. November 5, 2018. Retrieved July 14, 2020.
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- "Past Winners". Jewish Book Council. Retrieved January 21, 2020.
- "Jewish Book Council announces 2019 National Jewish Book Awards Winners". The Jerusalem Post |. Retrieved January 21, 2020.