L.A. Times Critic Sasha Frere-Jones Out After $5,000 Strip Club 'Expense'
Ahh, legacy media. Despite the continual layoffs, buyouts and consolidations, the media of old still holds allure, if not for its liberally plundered expense accounts. Take, for example, the recently departed L.A. Times music critic, Sasha Frere-Jones. Frere-Jones was only a recent hire to the Times' shrinking masthead, plucked from annotation company Genius back in July of 2015. Prior to his four month-stint at Genius, Frere-Jones wrote for the New Yorker. As The Wrap reports, Frere-Jones resigned from his job as a critic sometime in the past few weeks. During his ten-ish months at the Times, Frere-Jones produced a total of 45 lackluster articles.
During this time, however, Frere-Jones made full use of the gracious expense account provided to him by the Tribune Company. The Wrap reports that Frere-Jones recently filed a $5,000 expense report for a venue the newspaper determined was actually a strip club.
When confronted, Frere-Jones said he was writing an article about a rapper, and that it was only obvious that the strip club was the proper interview venue. When the L.A. Times contacted the rapper, the artist's representatives said that no such interview had taken place.
Frere-Jones also accepted an offer from champagne retailer Dom Pérignon to Joshua Tree National Park in April. Frere-Jones cancelled the trip last minute, prompting the company to call the newsroom to find a replacement. This was the point that the editors realized Frere-Jones was up to something. Journalistic integrity isn't much these days, but accepting a free luxury, champagne-fueled trip as a professional reporter certainly crosses the line.
As Gawker points out, Frere-Jones also offered ripe Coachella coverage to an artist in exchange for a free ride to Indio.
Part of Frere-Jones' deal with the Times, when he first joined ship, was that he was allowed to operate independent of the paper's established editorial structure. He was allowed to set his own schedule and report directly to the publication's managing editor.
Mallory Ortberg, of The (soon to be shuttered) Toast however, is very not pleased: