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Elvis Mitchell: ‘I Just Said I Had to Leave’

Memo from New York Times executive editor Bill Keller


I'm sorry to inform you that Elvis Mitchell has decided to leave The Times. Despite what you may have read elsewhere, it is an amicable parting on both sides, a little wistful but not acrimonious. In the years since he joined The Times, Elvis has brought our readers (and shared with his colleagues) a profound knowledge of film, an original and exciting voice, and a great deal of fun. As one of the editors who hired Elvis, I will miss him a lot, and so will everyone who worked with him.


Elvis Mitchell (Photo credit:
Jeremy Harmon/WireImage)

After joining the New York Times as lead film critic in late 1999 ago — arguably, the most influential film reviewer position in American media — Elvis Mitchell has resigned his position with the paper. Sean Elder, at Salon, wrote this piece, in 1999, about the appointment of Mitchell, and fellow reviewer A.O. Scott, to the Times’ movie section.

Richard Prince, at the Maynard Institute, reports that “Mitchell resigned after (cultural news editor Steven) Erlanger appointed colleague A. O. Scott the lead film critic.”

New York magazine’s Metro section suggests that Mitchell’s resignation may have something to do with “how unfriendly a place the New York Times is for blacks,” or, perhaps, the consternation that was felt when Mitchell accepted a job as a visting lecturer in the Department of African and African American Studies at Harvard (“He took another full-time job while he was working here as a film critic?”).

Posted by Raymond Tomlin at May 8, 2004 9:16 AM in Media


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