The New Yorker has let go of its star reporter Ryan Lizza amid allegations of sexual misconduct, the magazine confirmed Monday.
“The New Yorker recently learned that Ryan Lizza engaged in what we believe was improper sexual conduct. We have reviewed the matter and, as a result, have severed ties with Lizza,” a spokesperson for the magazine said. “Due to a request for privacy, we are not commenting further.”
In a separate statement, Lizza disputed the magazine’s description of his firing: “I am dismayed that The New Yorker has decided to characterize a respectful relationship with a woman I dated as somehow inappropriate. The New Yorker was unable to cite a company policy that was violated.”
He continued: “I am sorry to my friends, workplace colleagues, and loved ones for any embarrassment this episode may have caused. I love The New Yorker, my home for the last decade, and I have the highest regard for the people who work there. But this decision, which was made hastily and without a full investigation of the relevant facts, was a terrible mistake.”
Wigdor LLP, the law firm representing Lizza’s accuser, issued a statement in response: “In no way did Mr. Lizza’s misconduct constitute a ‘respectful relationship’ as he has now tried to characterize it. Our client reported Mr. Lizza’s actions to ensure that he would be held accountable and in the hope that by coming forward she would help other potential victims.”
The firm noted that the accuser would like their identity to remain confidential.
Lizza is perhaps best known for inadvertently ending the short-lived White House career of Anthony Scaramucci. When the notoriously chatty then-White House comms director called up Lizza in July 2017, he went on an unhinged rant against Trump administration colleagues—calling Reince Priebus a “fucking paranoid schizophrenic” and derisively referring to Steve Bannon’s media-hungry ways as “trying to suck [his] own cock.”
Despite Scaramucci’s unspoken assumption the chat was off-record, it was not. He was fired 10 days into the White House gig.
As The Daily Beast reported at the time, Scaramucci’s war on Priebus (which would in part spell his public downfall) was personally greenlit and sanctioned by President Trump himself.
Normally quite active on social media and cable news, Lizza has been rather silent in recent weeks. He has not appeared on CNN, where he is a contributor, since Nov. 22; and aside from a smattering of retweets, his normally buzzing Twitter feed has been absent of reporting or commentary since around the same time.
Upon hearing of Lizza’s dismissal from the magazine, a CNN spokesperson told The Daily Beast: “We have just learned of the New Yorker’s decision. Ryan Lizza will not appear on CNN while we look into this matter.”
According to an insider source, as of close-of-business early Monday evening, a company-wide New Yorker or Condé Nast email on the Lizza situation had yet to be sent to staff. Employees were left to check Twitter, gossip amongst themselves, and read the news to try to discern what was going on.
Georgetown University, where Lizza serves as an adjunct lecturer, said he will not return next semester.
“Georgetown recently learned of The New Yorker’s actions,” the university told The Daily Beast. “Classes have concluded for the fall semester at the University. Mr. Lizza will not be teaching any classes next semester.”