The New York Times Company has been in damage control mode after revelations it is purchasing half of a free Boston newspaper from Euro-racists.
After reports surfaced that the Metro Boston paper's creepy Euro managers had repeatedly made outright bigoted statements during company meetings and functions, community leaders in Boston became furious with the New York Times/Boston Globe for not backing out of the deal.
Imagine the national furor that would result had a conservative publication become mixed up in such a controversy.
Two top executives of Metro International abruptly resigned their posts last night, as outrage over their use of racial slurs continued to fester and threaten a $16.5 million deal with The New York Times Co.
The freebie newspaper company accepted the resignations of Metro USA president Steve Nylund and Metro International board member Hans Holger-Albrecht, though Nylund will stay on with the company in a ``non-operational'' role.
Nylund had been forced to apologize for making a racist joke at a company dinner in Rome in 2003 - one of two such incidents the newspaper chain confirmed. The other incident involved a racial slur used by Albrecht at a separate company function.
The resignation bombshell capped a day of mounting pressure, including calls from black leaders for the Times Co. and its subsidiary Boston Globe to scrap a deal that would give them a 49 percent stake in Metro Boston.
The Times stopped short of saying the $16.5 million agreement is in the clear.
``We are closely reviewing the steps that Metro International is taking,'' the Times Co. said in a statement.
Former Metro employees have described a culture of racism flowing top-down from the company's ranking executives - a culture that yesterday drew some of the harshest criticism yet from high-profile black leaders.
``If I were in their shoes, it would make me seriously reconsider the decision,'' said Benaree ``Bennie'' Wiley, head of The Partnership, a business-funded nonprofit that recruits minority professionals to come to Boston.
``They're going to have to back out of this deal,'' said the Rev. Jeffrey Brown, pastor of the Union Baptist Church in Cambridge. ``This isn't subtle stuff. This is the kind of stuff we'd expect in the Deep South 50 years ago. What does this say about the Globe? What does this say about the New York Times?''