The Boston Globe has filed a lawsuit against a former employee who released information this week alleging an inappropriate text exchange with the newspaper's top editor.
The Globe reported Wednesday they are investigating "an inappropriate text exchange" between editor-in-chief Brian McGrory and former Boston.com editor Hilary Sargent.
According to the Boston Herald, the Globe is now asking a judge to order Sargent to cooperate with its investigation.
Sargent's attorney, William Kennedy, released a statement Saturday on his clients behalf, saying, "Ms. Sargent has not refused to cooperate in the Globe’s ‘investigation’. As our office acting as her present counsel made the Globe’s counsel aware, Ms. Sargent is at this point attempting to retain other counsel to advise her going forward on this matter – a process which is ongoing. The suggestion that the Globe’s requests for her cooperation have been ignored is false. In fact, our client over the last several months attempted to contact upper management at the Globe about her concerns and her calls were ignored. Given the Globe’s decision to file suit against our client, Ms. Sargent will have no further comment at this time.”
The suit was filed Friday in Suffolk Superior Court. A hearing for preliminary injunction has been scheduled for June 7.
The Globe's investigation comes after Sargent tweeted about an exchange between her and McGrory on Monday.
In the text exchange, Sargent said she was asked, "What do you generally wear when you write?"
The screenshot doesn't show the names of the people texting and it's unclear when the texts were sent.
In a memo sent to employees Wednesday, the Globe's managing director and president said they began investigating the allegation as soon as they were made aware of it. Linda Henry and Vinay Mehra said they're seeking more information about the texts and "expect to have a resolution on this matter soon."
Sargent hasn't said when the exchange took place. McGrory and Sargent have confirmed they dated many years ago, but Sargent said on Twitter they weren't dating when the texts were sent.
McGrory told Globe staff in an email he has no recollection of the exchange and has never harassed Sargent or others. He said he and Sargent have remained friendly over the years, occasionally sending text messages that "included the kind of personal banter of two people very familiar with each other."
"I don't believe I have ever acted inappropriately with anyone at this company," said McGrory, who has worked at the Globe for 29 years.
Sargent was an editorial assistant for the Globe in the late '90s and later worked as both a writer and editor for the Globe-owned Boston.com from 2014 to 2016.
She told the Globe "If Brian McGrory truly does not believe he has ever acted inappropriately with anyone at The Boston Globe, then he and I have a remarkably different understanding of what is - and is not - appropriate."
McGrory previously came under fire in December 2017 following the newspaper's initial decision to not name Jim O'Sullivan in an article about sexual misconduct allegations against the former reporter. The decision was then reversed in a letter from McGrory to Globe readers amid the ongoing #MeToo movement.
"We believed that we were adhering to our journalistic principles, standards on sourcing, and sense of basic fairness. We believed that the misconduct was not at the level of what we had been covering and uncovering in other organizations. We didn't believe we had definitive proof to name him in a news story," McGrory wrote. "Time and circumstances in this extraordinary national movement have given us, or at least me, a different perspective."