New York Times criticised for ‘appalling’ hire of anti-LGBTQ+ columnist David French

A close-up photo of attorney David French wearing a black top over a blue shirt sitting by a window which has skyscrapers in the background

The New York Times has come under fire for kicking off the new year by hiring David French – an anti-LGBTQ+ attorney – as its latest opinion columnist.

On Tuesday (January 3) French, who has lamented “transgender entitlement” and once described a young trans woman as a “man” who is “on the verge of mutilating himself”, was announced as the publication’s opinion columnist, starting 30 January. 

But his appointment has sparked fury among the public online and LGBTQ+ organisations, with Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) condemning the decision as damaging to the paper’s credibility. 

President and CEO of GLAAD, Sarah Kate Ellis, slammed the choice as “appalling”. She said its published “love letter” to French “shows a willful disregard of LGBTQ community voices and the concerns so many have shared about their inaccurate, exclusionary, often ridiculous pieces”. 

“It is appalling that The New York Times hired and is now boasting about bringing on David French, a writer and attorney with a deep history of anti-LGBTQ activism,” she said.  

French served as attorney for Southern Poverty Law Centre-designated hate group, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which is known for attacking the rights of trans students, and working to discriminate against and criminalise people being gay. 

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Previously French defended the ADF and claimed that calling it a “hate group”, was “absurd”. 

In 2016, he also wrote a column in the National Review attempting to deny existence of transgender people. He was also subjected to backlash for saying that lifting the ban on trans military service will result in “thought control”

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Ellis said the Times’ decision coming after “more than a year of inaccurate, misleading LGBTQ coverage” and without a single trans voice on staff.”

Trans writer Jenny Boylan was cut from The New York Times. (Getty Images for GLAAD/Dimitrios Kambouris)

In what Ellis called its “glowing announcement” of French’s hiring, she said they forgot to mention his anti-LGBTQ+ record. 

Ellis stated that the Times’ “opinion section continues to platform non-LGBTQ voices speaking up inaccurately and harmfully about LGBTQ people and issues”.

“This is damaging to the paper’s credibility.” 

But she pointed out it reflects a “growing trend on the news and opinion pages of misguided, inaccurate, and disingenuous ‘both sides’ fearmongering and bad faith ‘just asking questions’ coverage.” 

Many Twitter users are siding with GLAAD in finding the announcement disturbing, but many aren’t surprised at The Times’ decision to hire French.

One user wrote: “Sort of like David French working for The New York Times is a great reason to continue not reading it.” 

Another questioned: “Isn’t David French, the new hire at the @nytimes, anti-LGBTQ+?”, while another user called him a “transphobic bigot”. 

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The New York Times previously faced backlash for publishing an article full of “anti-trans propaganda” under the guise of “concern-trolling” last year. 

Prior to this, a gay cruise company described a New York Times story that questioned whether 2,000 gays would be safe on a boat during the COVID-19 pandemic as “homophobic” and “sensationalised”.

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