According to The New Yorker's Ken Auletta, fired New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson was paid less than her male counterparts, despite a denial from the Times. He writes:
Let’s look at some numbers I’ve been given: As executive editor, Abramson’s starting salary in 2011 was $475,000, compared to Keller’s salary that year, $559,000. Her salary was raised to $503,000, and — only after she protested — was raised again to $525,000. She learned that her salary as managing editor, $398,000, was less than that of the male managing editor for news operations, John Geddes. She also learned that her salary as Washington bureau chief, from 2000 to 2003, was a hundred thousand dollars less than that of her successor in that position, Phil Taubman.
Those are pretty damning figures. Just yesterday, Times publisher Arthur Suhlzberger Jr., who fired Abramson, wrote in a memo to staff:
It is simply not true that Jill’s compensation was significantly less than her predecessors. Her pay is comparable to that of earlier executive editors. In fact, in 2013, her last full year in the role, her total compensation package was more than 10 percent higher than that of her predecessor, Bill Keller, in his last full year as Executive Editor, which was 2010.
Times spokesperson Eileen Murphy explained the discrepancy by pointing out that Times employees have "bonuses, stock grants, and other long-term incentives" that contribute to total earnings. The Times, however, did not provide any hard numbers to indicate that Abramson's salary was not "significantly less" than Keller's.
Given Auletta's report, it now seems reasonable that Abramson would hire a lawyer to sort out her salary with the Times. Murphy doesn't quite have her story straight on whether Abramson's salary inquiries contributed to her firing — she first told Auletta that "this incident was a contributing factor" to her firing because "it was part of a pattern." On Friday morning, she accused Auletta of misquoting her: "I said to you that the issue of bringing a lawyer in was part of a pattern that caused frustration. I NEVER said that it was part of a pattern that led to her firing because that is just not true." Auletta maintains he quoted Murphy in context.