Jonathan Kay

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Jonathan Kay
Jonathan Kay Canadian Journalist Smaller File.jpg
BornJonathan Hillel Kay
(1968-09-18) September 18, 1968 (age 50)
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Alma mater
Spouse(s)Jennifer Good

Jonathan Hillel Kay (born September 18, 1968) is a Canadian journalist. He was the editor-in-chief of The Walrus (2014–2017) and was previously comment pages editor, columnist and blogger for the Toronto-based Canadian daily newspaper National Post, and continues to contribute to the newspaper on a freelance basis. He is currently a senior editor of Quillette.[1][2][3] He is also a book author and editor, a public speaker, and a regular contributor to Commentary[4] and the New York Post.

His freelance articles have been published in a variety of US publications including Newsweek,[5] The New Yorker,[6],[7] The New Republic,[8] Harper's Magazine,[9] the Los Angeles Times,[10] The Weekly Standard,[11] the Literary Review of Canada,[12] The National Interest[13] and The New York Times.[14]

Early life[edit]

Jonathan Kay was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec. His mother is the socially conservative newspaper columnist Barbara Kay. He attended Selwyn House School and Marianopolis College before obtaining a BEng and an MEng[15] in metallurgical engineering from McGill University and a law degree from Yale Law School. He is a member of the New York bar. After practicing as a tax lawyer in New York City, Kay moved to Toronto, where, in 1998, he became a founding member of the National Post editorial board. Kay describes himself as an avid tennis and board game enthusiast, and sometimes has incorporated his passion for both pursuits into his journalism.[16]


Kay joined the National Post at its inception, in 1998, as a member of its editorial board, subsequently becoming the newspaper's Comment editor as well as a columnist. He left the newspaper's staff in 2014 but continues appearing in its pages as a freelance columnist.

Apart from his editorial work, Kay has also written two non-fiction books. In 2007, Kay co-authored The Volunteer, a biography of Mossad officer Michael Ross. In May 2011, HarperCollins published Kay's second book, Among the Truthers: A Journey Through America's Growing Conspiracist Underground (ISBN 978-0-06-200481-9).[17] The book reflects Kay's interest in the psychology of conspiracy theorists, a subject he often explored in his National Post columns.[18]

Kay was a freelance editorial assistant on Liberal Party of Canada leader Justin Trudeau's memoir Common Ground published by HarperCollins with duties that included conducting some of the interviews with Trudeau that were used for the book. Kay's participation in the project was criticized by conservatives in social media as well as by Sun News Network personality Ezra Levant, on whose 2009 book Shakedown Kay also worked on as an editorial assistant.[19]

Kay was named editor-in-chief of The Walrus, a Canadian general interest magazine, on October 29, 2014.[20] Kay left the Post on November 21, 2014, but continued to contribute opinion pieces on a freelance basis.[21] He resigned as editor and chief of The Walrus on May 13, 2017, following a controversy around cultural appropriation in which Kay argued that concerns by Indigenous writers about the practice should be balanced against the right to free artistic representation.[22][23] Kay said the reason he left was because of conflicts between his role as a manager at a respected media brand and as a columnist and media panelist in which he would state controversial opinions and that he had felt the need to self-censor his byline pieces and commentary outside of The Walrus. "In recent months especially, I have been censoring myself more and more, and my colleagues have sometimes been rightly upset by disruptions caused by my media appearances. Something had to give, and I decided to make the first move. I took no severance," he said in an email written to The Globe and Mail. Kay added that there had been no conflict between himself and the publisher of The Walrus and that he had been given a free hand to edit the magazine and its website and that the pressure he had felt to self-censor was in relation to his non-Walrus work.[24][25]

Since May 2018, Kay also hosts Quillette's Wrongspeak podcast with Debra W. Soh.[26]


Kay has supported Israeli military action against Syria in the 2006 Lebanon War,[27] opposed anti-racism activism on campuses as political correctness,[28] has criticized Canada's policy toward Indian reserves as being comparable to Marxism.[29] He has also opposed income inequality,[30] and questioned the conduct of the Iraq War.[31] Kay also supports same-sex marriage.[citation needed]

Kay's book critical of the claims made by the 9/11 Truth movement, Among the Truthers, generally received positive reviews in major media outlets, such as The New York Times,[32] The Wall Street Journal,[33] and The Economist.[33]


Over the years, Kay has been on the receiving end of criticism for what many have seen as his tolerance or complicity to white supremacy, cultural appropriation and his tendency to threaten lawsuits against his critics[34][35][36]. Kay's stance on free speech has been criticized from a variety of perspectives.[37][38][39]

Published books[edit]

Awards and recognition[edit]

In 2002, he was awarded Canada's National Newspaper Award for Critical Writing. In 2004, he was awarded a National Newspaper Award for Editorial Writing.[40] He is currently a visiting fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.[41]


  1. ^ "Who We Are". Quillette. Retrieved September 30, 2018.
  2. ^ "Quillette". Jonathan Kay, Author at Quillette. Retrieved September 30, 2018.
  3. ^ Kay, Jonathan [@jonkay] (5 July 2018). "1. In March, I began working with @QuilletteM to expand its Canadian presence. This month, I formally joined its staff as senior editor. Going forward, I'll be expanding efforts to recruit new Quillette writers. This thread describes what I'm hoping to find" (Tweet). Retrieved September 30, 2018 – via Twitter.
  4. ^ Pethokoukis, James. "Commentary Magazine". Commentary Magazine. Retrieved January 24, 2012.
  5. ^ "Newsweek". Newsweek. February 8, 2010. Retrieved January 24, 2012.
  6. ^ Boggs, Danny J. (August 1, 2011). "New Yorker". New Yorker. Retrieved January 24, 2012.
  7. ^ "". Archived from the original on October 8, 2010.
  8. ^ "The New Republic". Retrieved January 24, 2012.
  9. ^ "Harper's Magazine". Retrieved January 24, 2012.
  10. ^ Kay, Jonathan (January 30, 2002). "Los Angeles Times". Retrieved January 24, 2012.
  11. ^ "The Weekly Standard". March 14, 2005. Retrieved January 24, 2012.
  12. ^ Linda McQuaig and Neil Brooks (December 1, 2010). "The Literary Review of Canada". Retrieved January 24, 2012.
  13. ^ "The National Interest". October 3, 2001. Archived from the original on December 15, 2010. Retrieved January 24, 2012.
  14. ^ Kay, Jonathan (January 3, 2002). "The New York Times". The New York Times. Retrieved January 24, 2012.
  15. ^ "eScholarship@McGill – Results – Full". August 20, 1996. Retrieved January 24, 2012.
  16. ^ National Post[dead link]
  17. ^ "Among the Truthers". Among the Truthers. Retrieved January 24, 2012.
  18. ^ National Post[dead link]
  19. ^ "Jonathan Kay: An editor's note regarding my work for HarperCollins on 'Common Ground'". National Post. October 21, 2014. Archived from the original on October 29, 2014. Retrieved October 29, 2014.
  20. ^ "The Walrus names Jonathan Kay new editor-in-chief". Globe and Mail (October 29, 2014). Retrieved October 29, 2014.
  21. ^ "Jonathan Kay: My life at the National Post, and why I'll miss it".
  22. ^ "Jonathan Kay out at The Walrus". May 14, 2017.
  23. ^ Mendleson, Rachel (May 14, 2017). "Jonathan Kay resigns as editor of The Walrus amid 'appropriation prize' backlash" – via Toronto Star.
  24. ^
  25. ^ "Jonathan Kay resigns as editor of The Walrus amid cultural appropriation controversy". The Globe and Mail.
  26. ^ Herzog, Katie (31 May 2018). "Wrongspeak Is a Safe Space for Dangerous Ideas". The Stranger. Retrieved 8 November 2018.
  27. ^ Kay, Jonathan. "How Israel fights". Jewish world Review. Retrieved January 24, 2012.
  28. ^ Kay, Johnathan (April 2, 2010). "White & guilty: 'Whiteness' workshop helps expose your inner racist". National Post. Archived from the original on April 6, 2010.
  29. ^ Kay, Jonathan (October 23, 2007). "Off the reservation". National Post. Archived from the original on November 10, 2012. Retrieved January 24, 2012.
  30. ^ Kay, Jonathan (December 1, 2010). "The Rich Are Bad for Your Health". Review Canada. Retrieved January 24, 2012.
  31. ^ Kay, Jonathan (October 17, 2006). "Confessions of a misguided hawk". National Post. Archived from the original on November 10, 2012. Retrieved January 24, 2012.
  32. ^ Heilbrunn, Jacob (May 13, 2011). "Book Review - Among the Truthers - By Jonathan Kay". The New York Times.
  33. ^ a b Bunch, Sonny (May 7, 2011). "Book Review: Among the Truthers". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved January 24, 2012.
  34. ^ "Jonathan Kay resigns as editor of The Walrus amid cultural appropriation controversy". Retrieved 2018-11-06.
  35. ^ "Jonathan Kay's Walrus resignation long past due |". Retrieved 2018-11-06.
  36. ^ "If cultural appropriation isn't about white people's right to expression, then what is it about? |". Retrieved 2018-11-06.
  37. ^ "The transgressive conservative: Kay with Bannon | Ricochet". Ricochet. Retrieved 2018-11-10.
  38. ^ "Jonathan Kay Is Going to Be Just Fine". Vice. 2017-05-15. Retrieved 2018-11-10.
  39. ^ "So-Called 'Free Speech' Isn't Worth Fighting For". HuffPost Canada. 2017-12-19. Retrieved 2018-11-10.
  40. ^ "Jonathan Kay". July 25, 2011. Archived from the original on July 25, 2011.
  41. ^ "2012 Speakers - Foundation for Defense of Democracies".

External links[edit]