Sophie Shepherd, a white Andover student who was on the Peru trip with New York Times reporter Donald McNeil where he used the N-word. She also claims that McNeil told the group that racism was ‘over’, and that ‘black Americans can get out of the ghetto if they want to’. 

The trip was in 2019 and was part of the Times Journey program – a money making venture where seasoned Times reporters took people on guided educational tours in different parts of the world. 

Sophie Shepherd was among the group who paid $5,000 per person for the educational trip with McNeil in Peru.

According to her, he also said: ‘It’s frustrating because black Americans keep blaming the system but racism is over, there’s nothing against them anymore — they can get out of the ghetto if they want to.’

Shepherd said she tried to argue with him but that he shot back: ‘This is the thing with these liberal institutions like Andover — they teach you the world should be like this but that’s not how reality is.’

Sophie Shepherd Felt Sorry For ‘Grumpy Old Man’ Donald McNeil

‘There was this atmosphere where people didn’t like him..He was kind of a grumpy old guy.’

According to Shepherd, McNeil had been talking to another student at lunch during the first day of the trip when he used the N word.

Earlier in the day, she’d run after him while the group was leaving their hostel to ask him about some of the criticism he’d faced over his book.

‘He got very defensive very quickly about it,’ she said.

She then felt ‘terrible’ and like she had come off ‘like a crazy liberal’.

Another student who was there told the Times that when Shepherd used the N word, he was unapologetic about it.

‘I’m very used to people — my grandparents or people’s parents — saying things they don’t mean that are insensitive.

‘You correct them, you tell them, “You’re not supposed to talk like that,” and usually people are pretty apologetic and responsive to being corrected. And he was not,’ that student said.

The Times published her comments on Sunday along with more details about McNeil’s resignation.

He will continue working at the Times until March 1 and is declining to comment on the scandal until then.

As TuskerDaily reported last week McNeil resigned after 150 staffers wrote a letter demanding that he be fired.


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