FACT CHECK: Did Former NYT Writer Sarah Jeong Say, ‘We Need A Castration Lottery For White Men’?

Varun Hukeri | General Assignment & Analysis Reporter

An image shared on Facebook over 2,500 times claims former New York Times writer Sarah Jeong once said, “We need a castration lottery for white men.”

Verdict: False

There is no evidence Jeong made the statement, and the misattributed quote appears to come from a series of fake quotes that emerged on social media after she joined The New York Times in August 2018 as an editorial board staff writer.

Fact Check:

The quote about a “castration lottery” for white people was first shared on the online message board 4chan in August 2018, around the same time a number of other fake quotes misattributed to Jeong were shared on the website, according to Snopes. One user in that 4chan thread posted a fabricated tweet that Jeong supposedly sent July 31, 2018.

There is, however, no record of Jeong making the statement. A search of her verified Twitter account, as well as her Facebook page, didn’t turn up any matches. An archived version of her Twitter timeline from early August 2018 shows no such tweet on July 31 of that year, and Check Your Fact also didn’t find any credible media outlets attributing the quote to her. (RELATED: Did The NYT Publish An Op-Ed Comparing Kim Yo Jong To Elizabeth Warren?)

Jeong on Monday called it a “fake quote that had been debunked two years ago” in a tweet in which she also brought up a related incident where the fake quote inspired an email from a pastor from Michigan’s Macomb County. The pastor said that “little bitter Asian women” should be subject to female genital mutilation in response to the fake quote about castrating white men, according to a screen grab of the email Jeong tweeted Sept. 15.

According to Snopes, the fake quotes emerged after social media users uncovered a number of actual tweets that some users criticized as being offensive to white people. Those tweets, which appear to have been posted well before she joined The New York Times’ editorial board, resurfaced after she was hired by the New York Times, according to Vox. In a Twitter statement, Jeong said she “engaged in what I thought of at the time as counter-trolling” and the comments “were not aimed at a general audience, because general audiences do not engage in harassment campaigns.”

Varun Hukeri

General Assignment & Analysis Reporter
Follow Varun on Twitter


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