A Seattle Times journalist has been suspended for sending a sexually explicit message to a young woman on Twitter telling her she had “so much c** on your face”.
Talia Jane, a New York-based blogger who made headlines in 2016 with a viral open letter to her then CEO at review website Yelp, posted screenshots of the private messages from real estate reporter Mike Rosenberg on Sunday.
“Being a woman is totally normal and very cool,” she wrote in the tweet.
In the messages, Rosenberg asks Jane whether she had considered applying for any reporting jobs, saying he thinks she has “the edge necessary to do it”, before quickly shifting to personal comments.
do men realize they don’t *have* to hit send
— talia jane (@itsa_talia) May 5, 2019
“Anyway you’re so beautiful,” he wrote in one message timestamped 3.10am. “Anyway you are hilarious,” he wrote shortly after.
Forty-five minutes later he followed up with, “There is so much c** on your face.”
After Jane told him the messages were not “appropriate or acceptable”, Rosenberg apologised and claimed it “wasn’t intended for you”.
“Testing the waters and feigning oopsie is pretty typical in sexual harassment,” Jane tweeted. “So is initiating conversation on the premise of professionalism.”
In the messages, Rosenberg begs Jane not to expose him.
She orders him to tell his wife and delete his social media accounts “so you can’t engage in predatory behaviour from behind the safety of a screen”, but Rosenberg said he couldn’t “just delete my Twitter or else I will get fired”.
“Not to mention the fact that my wife will be devastated,” he added.
In her Twitter commentary, Jane said “caring that your own dumbass behaviour hurt your wife” was “not my job”.
She then posted a screenshot of an email to his editors.
“I am bringing this information to your attention because the media landscape is filled with men who abuse their platforms to engage in predatory sexual harassment with less established voices,” she wrote.
Shortly afterwards, the paper confirmed Rosenberg had been stood down.
“Earlier today, The Seattle Times was made aware of allegations of sexual harassment against a news employee,” the company tweeted.
“We have suspended the employee pending an investigation by our human resources group. As this is a personnel matter, we will have no further comment on this at this time.”
Rosenberg confirmed to the Crosscut website he sent the messages but reiterated his claim “they weren’t supposed to go to her”.
Asked who the messages were intended for, he said, “I would rather not say.”
Just out of curiosity, and in light of what happened to @itsa_talia: how many women have been contacted by a man in their industry supposedly for something professional, only to have him say something sexual as soon as you reply?
— Jennifer Wright (@JenAshleyWright) May 5, 2019
The viral tweet prompted other women to come forward with similar stories of male colleagues.
“I was supposed to show him a house for sale, and he started sending me several nudes,” one woman wrote.
“I promptly told him I couldn’t work with him, he said it was an ‘accident’ and still tried to get me to meet him! If I accidentally sent nudes I wouldn’t want to meet the receiver EVER.”
Anther wrote, “I had a man message me about a teaching opportunity at the school he worked. After I messaged back thanking him for the heads up, he asked me how I supposed I would ‘thank him’ if I got the job. I ended up not even applying.”