Murdoch lieutenant ordered removal of New York Post story on Trump sexual assault allegation, sources say

Posted at 4:03 PM, Jun 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-25 09:57:23-04

The New York Post’s former top editor, a supporter of President Trump and an old lieutenant of Rupert Murdoch who returned to the conservative tabloid as an adviser in early 2019, ordered the removal of a story about writer Jean Carroll’s sexual assault allegations against President Trump, two people familiar with the matter told CNN Business.

The Post’s story about Carroll’s sexual assault allegations was mysteriously scrubbed from the tabloid’s website on Friday afternoon. The link to the story, which had been written by reporter Joe Tacopino, directed readers to a dead or 404 page.

A wire story by the Associated Press which had been published on the Post’s website was also removed.

Carroll accused Trump of sexually assaulting her in an excerpt of her forthcoming book published by New York magazine on Friday. She said Trump penetrated her against her will in the fitting room of Bergdorf Goodman in the 1990s after asking her to try on a piece of lingerie. Trump denied the claim in a Friday statement.

A spokeswoman for the Post declined to comment. The spokeswoman did not dispute the account of events CNN Business provided to her, nor did she provide an explanation for the removal of the stories about Carroll’s accusations.

But the two people familiar with the matter told CNN Business that Col Allan, the former editor-in-chief of the Post who currently works as an adviser to the paper, ordered the story to be scrubbed from the website.

CNN Business was not able to reach Allan for comment despite multiple attempts.

Allan is a self-professed supporter of Trump. Accepting an award at an Australian media event in 2017, after he had exited as the Post’s top editor, Allan said it would have been “difficult” for him to work at the tabloid with Trump as president because he “like[s] the Donald a lot.”

During the 2016 Republican primaries, Allan even reportedly wore a “Make America Great Again” hat inside the Post’s newsroom.

Allan is a longtime lieutenant of Murdoch, the billionaire media mogul, who is himself an ally of Trump’s. Murdoch heads News Corporation, which owns the Post.

People inside the Post have suspected Murdoch brought back Allan to the Post to help steer the tabloid in a pro-Trump direction. Though that may be the case, stories about Carroll’s accusation against Trump remained online at The Wall Street Journal and Fox News, two other news organizations overseen by Murdoch.

The removal of the Post’s stories has prompted significant chatter amongst Post staffers, multiple people familiar with the matter told CNN Business.

Asked why Allan would order the removal of the Post story about Carroll’s accusation, one of the people told CNN Business, “Nobody needs to explain why. We already know.”

Despite being removed from the Post’s website, the story was still drawing traffic, likely because it remained in Google’s search results.

One of the people familiar with the matter said it had generated over 90,000 page views and that the dead link was still attracting hundreds of views each hour as of Saturday afternoon.