Jared Kushner Ordered the Deletion of Articles Critical of His Friends

The real-estate magnate asked a software developer at the paper he owned to delete articles that were critical of his friends

jared Kushner in the White House December 7 2017
Alex Brandon/AP

Jared Kushner personally asked a software developer at his newspaper, the New York Observer, to delete critical articles about his friends and real estate associates, reports Buzzfeed News.

The revelations came to light after Austin Smith, a software employee who claims he carried out these tasks for Kushner, posted the story on a forum about unethical practices in the programming.

Stories removed included one about a settlement between then-New York attorney general Andrew Cuomo and a real estate firm Vantage Properties, who had been accused of evicting their tenants in order to raise the rent. Another was about the NBA Commissioner Adam Silver purchasing a $6.5 million apartment in New York.

Elisabeth Spiers, the then-editor, said that she had no idea that Kushner had done this.

"If I had known about it, Jared and I would have had a big problem," she said. "Jared's such a coward. Went directly to Austin because he knew I wouldn't do it." Because Smith was not an editorial employee, he had no choice but to comply with Kushner's request.

The tech team continued to delete articles at the behest of Kushner under the mantle of editor Aaron Gell, who also stated that he did not know this was happening.

The removal of articles is regarded as unethical in journalism, and Kushner was known for his overbearing management of the paper – Vanity Fair once reported that he ordered an article written slating his real estate rival, Richard Mack.