Podcast Host Suspended


Slate has suspended the host of its Gist podcast Mike Pesca indefinitely after he debated with his colleagues over whether people who are not Black should be able to use a racial slur.

The debate, about New York Times reporter Don McNeil resigning, took place on the interoffice messaging platform Slack.

The New York Times reported that Pesca, who is white, said he felt there were contexts in which the slur could be used. Screen shots of the conversation were shared with the Times before Slate CEO Dan Check shut down the debate.

Pesca has worked at Slate for 7 years. The Times reported he was told on Friday he was suspended for a week without pay. On Monday the length of his suspension was extended to indefinite.

The Gist is a daily show about news and culture.


  1. It’s exhausting getting white people to understand their racist history. Why do white people even WANT to say it? That’s the deeper issue. White Americans feel their entitled to everything. The fact that they’re “not allowed” to do (commit hate crimes like , or act out their racist beliefs like their parents and grandparents generation ) or say THIS has people upset because for once your whiteness does not include you in something!

    Proud of Slate for their actions. White people (white men especially) need to stop making decisions on whats appropriate for other races. Shows ignorance like a red stain on a white shirt .

  2. Personally, I think the action was a bit extreme and, most likely, a reflection of our knee-jerk ‘pc’ society. We ALL know that members of minority/ethnic groups use in their daily talk many of the same ‘slur’s that others are castigated for using. (Who among us has heard blacks use “the N word” in their conversation and in a multitude of rap/hiphop music songs?)

    It’s an obvious double standard precipitated by the ‘need’ to be politically correct and react to people’s crying “I’m offended.” It seems that all you have to do anymore is claim to be offended and society is ‘obligated’ to cater to your sensitivity. (Native American names were looked on as respectful and honored for a century or more until recently when someone decided that this was another case of perceived ‘offense.’)

    That this perceived ‘offense’ by Mr. Pesca took place in a private conversation (as opposed to on his column) just adds to the extremism of the punishment. A private discussion with management and an agreement on what was considered acceptable would have sufficed. Suspension goes way beyond what was called for.


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