- The New York Mets have fired newly-minted General Manager Jared Porter for “failing to meet the Mets’ standards for professionalism and personal conduct.”
- According to ESPN’s Mina Kimes and Jeff Passan, Porter sent unsolicited nude photos and more than 60 unanswered messages to a female reporter while employed by the Chicago Cubs.
- The woman, who chose to remain anonymous, delayed coming forward out of fear of retribution and has since left the journalism industry.
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Jared Porter has been fired from his position as New York Mets General Manager before spending a single game with the team.
But it was his behaviour off the diamond that prompted his termination, according to the franchise.
On Tuesday morning, the Mets released a statement in which President Sandy Alderson explained that Porter had been released from the team for “failing to meet the Mets’ standards for professionalism and personal conduct.” The announcement came mere hours after an ESPN article revealed that Porter had harassed a female journalist in 2016.
According to a bombshell report from ESPN’s Mina Kimes and Jeff Passan, the 41-year-old had sent multiple unsolicited nude photos and 62 unanswered messages to a foreign reporter while he was a member of the Chicago Cubs’ front office. The reporter spoke with Kimes and Passan on the condition of anonymity.
The article, which was first published Monday evening, noted that Porter and the unnamed journalist had a casual texting relationship before the former “began complimenting her appearance, inviting her to meet him in various cities, and asking why she was ignoring him.” Once the then-Chicago Cubs Director of Professional Scouting escalated the situation further by sending a photo “of pants featuring a bulge in the groin area,” the reporter resolved to stop responding to Porter entirely.
“If I had a better understanding â€” not just of the language, but the culture â€” I definitely would have realised sooner what was going on,” the woman told ESPN.
“When told the exchanges show he had sent selfies and other pictures, (Porter) said that ‘the more explicit ones are not of me. Those are like, kinda like joke-stock images.’”
— Stephen J. Nesbitt (@stephenjnesbitt) January 19, 2021
Porter appeared to remain undeterred. Screenshots of his messages that the journalist provided to ESPN showed that he texted her more than 60 consecutive unanswered messages â€” including seven photos â€” in 22 days before sending a nude photo of an erect penis. At that point, the female reporter “didn’t know who to trust and rely on” because she was “alone in a different country.” She eventually decided to consult a player from her home country and an interpreter to help her craft a message.
“This is extremely inappropriate, very offensive, and getting out of line,” she wrote to Porter. “Could you please stop sending offensive photos or msg.”
Porter apologised but continued texting her repeatedly over the next several days. She considered contacting the Cubs regarding Porter’s harassment but refrained out of fear of retaliation. She experienced intense anxiety and bouts of insomnia immediately following the weeks-long incident and told ESPN she had questioned whether moving to the United States had been a mistake. She’s since left the journalism field entirely.
“It would be a lie to say similar occurrences hadn’t happened to me in [my home country],” she told ESPN. “It’s a male-dominated industry. But [Porter] was a tipping point for me. I started to ask myself, ‘Why do I have to put myself through these situations to earn a living?'”
Porter, meanwhile, acknowledged that he had exchanged messages with the unnamed reporter. During a Monday-evening conversation with ESPN’s journalists, Porter denied having ever sent messages. But when Kimes and Passan stated that they had seen evidence of photos sent via text message, Porter claimed that “the more explicit ones are not of me.”
“Those are like, kinda like joke-stock images,” he added.
By Tuesday morning, he had lost his job. Newly-minted Mets owner Steve Cohen tweeted out the news, adding that he “meant it” when he “spoke about the importance of integrity” in his initial press conference with the team.
“There should be zero tolerance for this type of behaviour,” he added.
We have terminated Jared Porter this morning . In my initial press conference I spoke about the importance of integrity and I meant it.There should be zero tolerance for this type of behavior.
— Steven Cohen (@StevenACohen2) January 19, 2021
For the anonymous reporter, Cohen’s and the franchise’s swift action was exactly what she hoped.
“My number one motivation is I want to prevent this from happening to someone else,” she told ESPN through an interpreter. “Obviously, he’s in a much greater position of power. I want to prevent that from happening again.”
“The other thing is, I never really got the notion that he was truly sorry,” she added.