The New York Times Fails to Evolve with Hiring of New Critic

Chris Peterson

OnStage Editor-in-Chief

It was announced today that New York based critic, Jesse Green, has been hired as Co-Chief Theater Critic for the New York Times. Following the controversial departure of critic Charles Isherwood, there was great interest to see who the editors would pick to fill the role. 

Jesse Green

Jesse Green

Mr. Green's credentials and critiquing ability are not in question, however I am disappointed to see that the Times failed to promote diversity within its ranks by hiring, yet again, another white male to fill the role.

With the recent movement to promote diversity in all areas of the Broadway community, it would have been a tone-setting move for the Times to hire a person of color or a female to serve as the second most read and influential theater critic in the industry. It would have been an incredibly rare move as well. 

While Margo Jefferson, an African-American woman, once held the role. Her tumultuous tenure lasted only six months and ended in 2003. To my knowledge, she is the only person of color and/or female to serve in the spot. 

Also, given that the theatre criticism community is known for being a "white man's game", it would have been incredibly encouraging to see the New York Times steer in another direction with a more inclusive hire. 

Now is the time for corporations to emphasize diversity, especially in leadership positions. For the New York Times Company, this feels like a step backwards. In a moment when they could have led the industry down new paths, old traditions seem to have won out.