- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Mets owner Steven Cohen announced Tuesday morning on Twitter that the organization fired general manager Jared Porter, hours after an ESPN report on Monday outlined explicit and unsolicited messages Porter sent to a reporter in 2016.

“In my initial press conference I spoke about the importance of integrity and I meant it,” Cohen tweeted. “There should be zero tolerance for this type of behavior.”

According to ESPN’s report, Porter sent the woman more than 60 unanswered messages and a slew of photos, one of which was a picture of an erect penis. When asked for comment from ESPN, he first denied sending any pictures to the woman — who spoke to ESPN on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution.

Later, Porter told ESPN “the more explicit [photos] are not of me. Those are like, kinda like joke-stock images.”

The only time Porter and the woman — a foreign correspondent who moved to the United States to cover MLB — spoke was in an elevator at Yankee Stadium on June 26, 2016. They spoke briefly about international baseball prospects, according to ESPN, and exchanged business cards.

Porter’s text messages soon began, asking her to get a drink and sending selfies. At first, the woman responded, not realizing Porter’s intent. She soon learned, though, and didn’t respond again.

“If I had a better understanding — not just of the language, but the culture — I definitely would’ve realized sooner what was going on,” the woman told ESPN.

ESPN first learned of the lewd messages in December 2017, but the story was put on hold because the woman didn’t want her career to be harmed. The woman has since left the journalism industry.

“My number one motivation is I want to prevent this from happening to someone else,” she told ESPN through an interpreter. “Obviously, he’s in a much greater position of power. I want to prevent that from happening again. The other thing is, I never really got the notion that he was truly sorry.”

“I know in the U.S., there is a women’s empowerment movement. But in [my home country], it’s still far behind,” the woman said. “Women get dragged through the mud if your name is associated with any type of sexual scandal. Women are the ones who get fingers pointed at them. I don’t want to go through the victimization process again. I don’t want other people to blame me.”

New York hired Porter in December as its general manager. At the time of the unsolicited messages, Porter was then the Chicago Cubs’ director of professional scouting. He joined the Diamondbacks as assistant general manager in 2017, and the woman told ESPN she declined opportunities to cover Arizona because she was afraid to see him.

Porter, 41, got his start with the Boston Red Sox, rising from intern to professional scouting director with that organization.

The Mets are now without a general manager once more. Cohen purchased the team in October and fired former general manager Brodie Van Wagenen.

“Jared’s actions, as reflected by events disclosed last night, failed to meet the Mets’ standards for professionalism and personal conduct,” a statement from Mets president Sandy Alderson read.

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