Nick Cohen on the AP’s language recommendation

January 27, 2023 • 12:30 pm

It’s been a while since I posted about anything by Nick Cohen, whom I used to read (and admire) all the time. I guess he’s writing more often on his Substack site.  Checking that out, I found this on his Wikipedia bio:

Nicholas Cohen (born 1961) is a British journalist, author and political commentator. He was a columnist for The Observer and a blogger for The Spectator. Following accusations of sexual harassment, he left The Observer in 2022 and began publishing on the Substack platform.

The footnote for the accusations goes to a Guardian article. in which a woman accused Cohen of sexual assault via groping.  I was shocked, and the fact that Cohen left the Observer after an investigation is disturbing.  I found that out after I already drafted a post with this post from Cohen’s Facebook page. I thought the AP’s “retraction” (an Cohen’s remark) was hilarious, but it loses some humor in light of the above.

I put that first tweet by the AP in the Hili Dialogues the other day, but I guess it’s gone now. At least somebody saved it, and oy did it get pushback!

15 thoughts on “Nick Cohen on the AP’s language recommendation

  1. Ugh. It is disturbing to read this for so many reasons. If he did it, it’s greatly disappointing. I like him as a writer. But what if it isn’t true? She could have made it up. Reminds me of David Sabatini. MIT fired him when he had a consensual relationship with a colleague but didn’t report it. It was cast as “assault” and ruined his life. Did Cohen “grope” someone? I don’t know.

    When I was a teen, my father came up behind me at night after many beers. It felt like he was about to rub himself up against me or that he had begun to. I asked him what he was doing and he backed off. Did he grope me? Yes, almost, maybe? He violated my space for sure and made me uncomfortable. But I can’t remember if he fully rubbed himself up against me. Could it be that the women who accused Cohen felt like he was too close to her? Did he actually touch her? Whatever the case, even wondering about it is disturbing.

    1. Well, I thought it may not be true, but the Observer had an investigation. It still may be a “he said/she said” situation, but since he left the paper, I suspect there was more to it than that: perhaps an admission. We don’t know, and given that, I’ll just say that we don’t know what really happened but he was probably given his pink slip.

      1. I see Cohen allows direct messages on Twitter from those he doesn’t follow. I wonder whether he’s open to questions. Anyway, I’m thinking about it.

      2. One other thought confirming your sense that there was more to it. I found a tweet where someone claims to have screenshots of Cohen engaging in behavior that very likely could’ve resulted in a pink slip:

        (I can’t vouch for the credibility of the tweeter. I happen to have this person blocked, which means he participated in a mobbing event against me or smeared a friend of mine. Nonetheless, it does appear that there is reason to believe that there was more than just a report of groping.)

  2. When I first saw the other article, I was surprised by the reference to “the French”, as if they were all in one of those other categories. C’est injuste! 😉

  3. From the New York Time’s Paris bureau chief Roger Cohen:
    The French Want to Remain the French. Jan 27, 2023
    The Associated Press offends French sensibilities and retreats from a piece of descriptive advice.

  4. Very, very disappointing news about Cohen, assuming it’s true (having read Lucy Siegle’s piece it sounds like it is, though of course it would be nice to hear what Cohen has to say about it too — does anyone know if he’s addressed the allegations publicly?). Rather like the implosion of Johan Hari, another journalist star of liberal secularism, for using a sockpuppet to defame other writers (ironically including Cohen), we’ll all be the poorer for the lack of his writing.

    1. I think that is the greatest insult of all time.

      The problem is that, when you read about how the French soldiers really behaved in both the First and Second World Wars, you realise it is defamatory.

  5. Very disappointing to hear that about Nick Cohen – it would be good (or, at least, informative) to hear his side of the story. But Lucy Siegle certainly makes a compelling case and I see absolutely no reason at all to disbelieve her.

  6. Sadly, the allegations of Cohen’s “wandering hands” are not new. A certain Rebecca Watson called him out more than a decade ago… I’m sure tweets or blog posts are out there with the date, etc.

    And you know I’m not a defender of Watson, but obviously, if other women were making allegations about Cohen 10-12 years ago, and then we have other more recent allegations from different women, it does look rather bad for NC.

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