Ben Brantley Steps Down as NYT Chief Theater Critic After Kind, Supportive Tweets Resurface
by Zach Raffio. @zachraffio.
NEW YORK, NY - New York Times chief theater critic Ben Brantley, after publishing esteemed, often scathing reviews for the past 24 years, is stepping down from his position after a controversial slew of sweet, comforting, and ultimately supportive tweets have resurfaced, sources confirmed.
“I am so sorry for any pain I’ve caused,” noted Brantley while making donations to several charities known for tearing down budding theatre performers. “Those tweets were very old, and I was a different person back then. I would never tweet that a young performer ‘exuded energy that breathed life up to the last rafter’, or that a director ‘had a powerful vision all their own’, or that any musical was ‘fun’. That’s just not who I am, and I hope I’ve proven that over the last two and half decades.”
Other tweets - such as one claiming that a certain show cast “seemed like they all really got along, I always love to see that” - had readers immediately calling for the aficionado’s removal.
“There’s no room in the theatre world for a critic who likes theatre,” noted longtime NYT subscriber Danielle Fisherson, as she canceled her subscription and signed up for Michael Riedel’s newsletter. “When he says that a stage design is ‘full of life, color and wonder’, he totally undoes everything he’s been working toward for so long. I know he swears he’s still the cynical man we’ve sworn by for so long, but when people show you who they are… believe them.”
New York Times executive editor Dean P. Baquet shared an apology for his former employee’s actions.
“Mr. Brantley’s fully positive, life-affirming, downright saccharine tweets are not at all representative of our publication,” noted Baquet as he signed up for Michael Riedel’s newsletter. “We fully condemn their cheery aesthetic, fulfilling use of adjectives, and especially the bright smile Mr. Brantley likely wore as he tweeted them. We promise that whoever fills the position will have nothing but horrible, offensive tweets. And they won’t be old either. They’ll be from, like, last week. Just bad, recent tweets.”
At press time, the publication was reluctant to reveal any names of possible replacements, however, The Broadway Beat did receive a photo of the unnamed frontrunners from an anonymous source (see below).