This reporting appears as one of several scoops featured in this week’s edition of Confider, the newsletter pulling back the curtain on the media. Subscribe here and send your questions, tips, and complaints here.
The “rogue employee” who “hacked” the New York Post’s website last week and published a series of racist and lewd phony headlines has broken his silence, explaining his actions to Confider and calling them “the utmost betrayal.”
On Thursday morning, Post digital producer Miguel Gonzalez had what he described to Confider as “an emotional tantrum” and, with relative ease, used his credentials to access the paper’s content management system to post the vile fake headlines, which included a few calling for the slayings of Joe and Hunter Biden as well as Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
“I let my own stupidity get the best of me,” Gonzalez told Confider on Sunday afternoon from his home in New Jersey, where he had carried out the “hack.”
The incident, he stressed, was not at all politically motivated but rather a reaction to troubles in his personal life. “I deserved to get fired for a very volatile, irresponsible, and disgusting action and an utmost betrayal of the New York Post,” he said. “I disrespected them at that moment. It’s my responsibility to now apologize.”
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The headline hijacking caused confusion and panic within the Post as editors worked to determine who was behind it, according to multiple people familiar with the situation. The paper initially described the incident as a hacking, but within an hour, our sources said, it became clear it was an inside job and Gonzalez was soon fired.
The 25-year-old started working at the Post in 2019 as his first job in journalism right out of college. He described his grueling shifts for the website—during which he’d build stories and insert photos—as intense to the point where he was responding to Slack messages from editors while he was in the bathroom.
Gonzalez wants to stay in journalism and said he has already started applying for jobs at places like Gothamist and New York Public Radio. However, he acknowledged the path back to the profession he longed to be a part of will be a hard one.
“I’m probably going to be blacklisted everywhere as I seek employment. What I did was horrible. It was my mistake and I owe a lot of people apologies.”
Meanwhile, Post staffers who spoke with Confider said that despite the public embarrassment, the paper has quickly returned to business as usual. “Everything is traffic, traffic, traffic across the website,” one such staffer said. “That’s demoralizing for some of the stronger beat reporters who have been here awhile.”
As an example, several of these Post journos pointed to some of the headlines posted to the paper’s Twitter account just hours after Gonzalez’s fake ones. “My ‘extra large’ penis is a ‘gift from god’—I’ve slept with over 1,000 women,” reads one. “I sniff my husband’s dirty underwear to make sure he’s not cheating,” blares another.
A New York Post flack declined to comment.
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