A New York Post editor who spoke out against a controversial cartoon the paper ran comparing the author of the president's stimulus package to a dead chimpanzee has been fired from her job, the paper confirmed.
Sandra Guzman was quietly dismissed from her position as associate editor last week for reasons that are being hotly debated by personnel inside the company. An official statement from the New York Post, provided to the Huffington Post, said that her job was terminated once the paper ended the section she was editing.
"Sandra is no longer with The Post because the monthly in-paper insert, Tempo, of which she was the editor, has been discontinued."
Employees at the paper -- which is one of media mogul's Rupert Murdoch's crown jewels -- said the firing, which took place last Tuesday, seemed retributive.
Guzman was the most high-profile Post employee to publicly speak out against a cartoon that likened the author of the stimulus bill (whom nearly everyone associated with President Barack Obama) with a rabid primate. Drawn by famed cartoonist Sean Delonas, the illustration pictured two befuddled policeman -- having just shot the chimp twice in the chest -- saying: "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill."
"I neither commissioned or approved it," Guzman wrote to a list of journalist colleagues shortly thereafter. "I saw it in the paper yesterday with the rest of the world. And, I have raised my objections to management."
The remark from Guzman was a rare instance of dissension within the halls of the paper making its way into the public domain. And sources at the Post now say it cost her a job.
"I think ever since then, she has been on their shit list and they were trying to look for a reason to get rid of her," said a Post employee who was granted anonymity in exchange for speaking freely. The problem at the Post is a revenue problem, the employee said. "My whole thing is, she is not in charge of advertising. She is an associate editor. Whoever is in accounting or advertising should have been held accountable."
Another longtime employee at the paper said Guzman had a sense that she could lose her job over her remarks. "But it doesn't make it any less painful."
"The irony there is that the newspaper isn't making money," said a longtime employee at the paper. "They haven't for a while... There was definitely room to keep her here without firing her. She could have been offered another position."
Suzi Halpin, a spokesperson for the Post who works at Rubenstein Communications, Inc., dismissed any allegations that Guzman's cartoon criticism played a role in her dismissal.
"The statement from the paper explains the reason why Sandra is no longer there," she said.
Post employees said that Guzman's firing also raised questions about minority representation in top management. Guzman had been, until Tuesday, the only woman of color on the paper's management staff. And according to one of the longtime Post employees, there has been only one African-American editor at the paper in the last decade.
"The hiring practices are really bad and have been for most of the time I've been here," said the employee. "Since I've been here there have been as many black editors as there have been black presidents of the United States.."
Guzman's firing came shortly after Murdoch is said to have held a meeting of leaders from a variety of ethnic communities to discuss ways to make his various companies -- including The Post -- more diverse.
Guzman did not return a request for comment.