• The Star Staff

Mets’ general manager fired over harassment of female reporter

By Kevin Draper

New York Mets general manager Jared Porter was fired Tuesday, just a month after being hired by the club. The swift decision came after the publication of an ESPN report Monday night that claimed Porter sent over 60 unsolicited text messages, including one of a penis, to a female baseball reporter in 2016.

“We have terminated Jared Porter this morning,” Steven Cohen, the team’s owner, tweeted. “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.”

Sandy Alderson, the team’s president, also issued a statement on the firing.

“The New York Mets have terminated general manager Jared Porter, effective immediately,” Alderson said. “Jared’s actions, as reflected by events disclosed last night, failed to meet the Mets’ standards for professionalism and personal conduct.”

Before the announcement of Porter’s firing, both the Mets and the Chicago Cubs — Porter’s employers at the time of the reported messaging — had said they would investigate the issue.

According to the report, Porter and the woman met just once, when he was director of professional scouting for the Cubs. The woman, who was not named in the report, told ESPN she believed she was beginning a standard reporter-source relationship with Porter, but that Porter’s tone quickly became unprofessional. Her attempts to ignore the messages did not discourage Porter, and multiple messages included images that were sexual in nature.

The messages, which ESPN obtained in 2017 but did not report at the time because the woman feared reprisal from Porter, stopped only when the woman, who is not from the United States and does not speak English fluently, showed them to an interpreter and a player from her country, according to ESPN. They helped her write a response to Porter: “This is extremely inappropriate, very offensive, and getting out of line. Could you please stop sending offensive photos or msg.”

After a few messages of apology, Porter stopped texting the woman.

Following ESPN’s initial report Monday night, Alderson issued a statement in which he said Porter had acknowledged the text messages to the team and apologized.

“I have spoken directly with Jared Porter regarding events that took place in 2016 of which we were made aware tonight for the first time,” Alderson said. “Jared has acknowledged to me his serious error in judgment, has taken responsibility for his conduct, has expressed remorse, and has previously apologized for his actions.”

“The Mets take these matters seriously, expect professional and ethical behavior from all of our employees, and certainly do not condone the conduct described in your story,” Alderson added, referring to the ESPN report. “We will follow up as we review the facts regarding this serious issue.”

A Mets spokesperson did not respond to additional questions about whether Porter wished to comment. He spoke briefly to ESPN on Monday night, telling the outlet the explicit photographs were not of him, but were “kinda like joke-stock images.” He declined to comment further.

Cohen’s swift decision to terminate Porter came a month after The New York Times reported details of a harassment claim filed against Cohen last summer. The complaint, filed by a former employee of his Point72 Asset Management hedge fund company, offered a glimpse into Cohen’s volatile temper and what some women have said is an openly sexist and hostile culture at the company.

At the time of Porter‘s hiring, he was charged with rebuilding a team that has made the playoffs just twice in the past decade. He was hired away from the Arizona Diamondbacks, where he was the assistant general manager. He had previous stints with the Cubs and the Boston Red Sox. The Mets have yet to announce if they will seek a new general manager to work under Alderson.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

© The San Juan Daily Star