‘New York Times’ writer apologizes for disparaging remark about Michael Brown

New York Times writer James Elgion
New York Times writer John Elgion


John Elgion is a writer for the New York Times. So it was surprising to find him writing a character assassination piece on Michael Brown. Brown was the unarmed teen shot dead by police officer Darren Wilson in early August. Elgion’s article in the Times was titled “Michael Brown, 18, due to be buried on Monday, was no angel” and played into the narrative of Brown as a stereotypical black thug.

Now Elgion has apologized for his characterization of Brown.

“I understand the concerns, and I get it. … ‘No angel’ was not a good choice of words, a better phrase would have been ‘wasn’t perfect’ … Hindsight is 20/20,  I wish I would have changed that,” Elgion said.

New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan has stated that using the phrase was a “regrettable mistake.” She was also critical of the decision to run the article on the day of Brown’s funeral.

Mo Barnes
Mo Barnes

Maurice "Mo" Barnes is a graduate of Morehouse College and Political Scientist based in Atlanta. Mo is also a Blues musician. He has been writing for Rolling Out since 2014. Whether it means walking through a bloody police shooting to help a family find justice or showing the multifaceted talent of the Black Diaspora I write the news.

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required

Join Our Newsletter

Get the latest news from Rolling Out.