With Rolling Stone’s flowery cover of bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev drawing most of the attention, The Times appears to be dodging any scrutiny for its role in the Ghorbani sex scandal.
As it turns out, Ghorbani, 39, was writing a profile of the Oasis frontman for The Times, while she was also having sex with her subject. She claims Gallagher got her pregnant and now she’s suing him for $3 million.
The Times’ relationship with Ghorbani, how she came to write for the paper, and what kind of ethical standards the paper demands of writers, so far, has escaped much serious discussion or reporting.
But it is a far more egregious ethical breach than the Rolling Stone cover, which a number of journalists are defending. On the other hand, Ghorbani’s actions represent a potentially serious conflict of interest for The Times.
TheImproper contacted by email Times’ Public Editor Margaret Sullivan, who responded through an assistant. She directed us to Philip B. Corbett, The Times’ associate managing editor for standards. Yes, they apparently still have them.
Corbett, however, has yet to respond to a series of email questions about The Times’ policies regarding freelancers, conflicts of interest, or what plans, if any, the newspaper has to address its role publicly.
Times spokesperson Elieen Murphy did respond with a brief statement: “Liza Ghorbani is a freelancer who has not written anything for The New York Times in more than three years. We have no information about her personal life,” she wrote.
In response to a follow up email, she responded: “Your questions have been answered by the statement I sent you. She doesn’t work here. She is a freelancer who has not written for us in over 3 years.
In fact, Ghorbani was a regular contributor to The Times going back at least until 2005. She wrote at least 57 major by-lined features on celebrities and New York City nightlife. She was not identified as a freelancer on any of the articles.
Her last article for The Times was the Gallagher story. It’s unknown what led to a severing of her relationship with the newspaper.
Her most recent article, according to her website, appeared last year in Elle magazine.
For the record Ghorbani has also written for Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated, Vogue and The Wall Street Journal among other publications.
Ghorbani’s by-lined article for The New York Times focused on how Gallagher was spending his time follow the stormy breakup of Oasis, and she trailed him around to several New York City bars.
Ghorbani began her affair with the rocker while on assignment for The Times and continued seeing the rocker afterward. She claims she gave birth to his child seven months ago. Gallagher apparently cut her off three months after the birth, prompting her to sue him for support.
Not surprisingly, cross-town rival The New York Post broke the story. The lawsuit has been filed in Manhattan family court. Ghorbani is attempting to establish the child’s paternity and collect child support. Gallagher has been married since 2008 to singer Nicole Appleton and they have a child together.