Sorry, Thuc is a Woman

By T.J. Simers

I wrote about the WNBA last week figuring no one reads blogs.

I’m embarrassed to say I had it wrong, receiving a tweet less than five minutes later—from a L.A. Times reporter.

Ben Bolch tweeted to say I slandered LA Times’ reporter Thuc Nhi Nguyen.

Now I used to get these crank emails all the time when I was a columnist for the Times. You know, these people live among you. Even Times’ reporters.

Ben was really upset because I called Thuc a male, when he is a she. That’s funny, because all the Thucs I have known in my life have been males.

I was a little surprised he didn’t try to defend her and make the case she wasn’t a terrible reporter, but you have only so many characters when you tweet.

I immediately replied to Ben in a tweet and apologized to Thuc for not knowing who she was; she’s probably never heard of me and could have made the same mistake given the T.J. initials. I appreciate the fact she had Ben reply for her.

The mistake should never have happened. I should have known the Times would take a sexist approach and have Thuc covering the Sparks.

But I thought the point of the blog had more to do with Thuc’s reporting job on the Sparks and how horrible it had been rather than her sex. Let’s face it, Ben should have given her some help if the Times’ editors don’t care about the final newspaper product.

The editors could have saved her; that’s their jobs. We’re still waiting to learn why one of the league’s former MVPs just abruptly quit.

Too many holes in a story are just part of the learning process. This happens to young reporters all the time, and I hope I’m not making another booboo and guessing Thuc is young because if she’s old and has the Sparks for a beat she should quit the business.

I thought that would be the end of it, nobody caring about the WNBA or whatever Thuc wrote about it. But Ben tweeted again, making this the most tweeted story I have ever written to say: “Her name is Thuc Nhi, and I am proud to call her my co-worker.”

That hurt deeply. Nine years ago I was Ben’s co-worker when the two Times’ editors, who were later fired, slandered my work. Never got a call from Ben. Never heard that Ben went after Times’ management. Never heard from Ben to hear how I was doing. Didn’t see him in court wishing me well. Nothing from Ben.

I don’t know if it was a male-female thing. I know Thuc has tweeted praising Ben’s work, and I never found reason to do that. I don’t know if Ben treats females differently than males, but this is all I have to go on.

I guess I will just have to take a closer look at what he does, whatever that might be.

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