Multiple Post sources independently confirmed to POLITICO that Roig-Franzia got hit while defending colleague Monica Hesse from harsh criticism leveled by her editor, Allen.
Allen, according to the Washingtonian, had told Hesse that a piece she had written was “the second worst story I have seen in Style in 43 years.”
Roig-Franzia, also working a story with Hesse that ran Saturday, told Allen not to be such a “c—sucker.”
Allen swung twice, with one punch hitting Roig-Franzi, according to sources. Next, staffers on the 4th floor —including Brauchli, who’s office is temporarily across from the Style section — jumped in to break up the altercation.
Presumably the piece in question was the paean to anti-gay activist Brian Brown that Hesse wrote.
Update. Apparently, the “second worst piece” was the one Hesse and the punchee wrote together:
One of the headlining incidents in the charticle was how a Confederate solider had lost some military plans of Robert E. Lee in a field that later found their way into Union hands. The original story reportedly said that the offense occurred in Virginia. Wrong–Maryland.
There were other errors as well.
Allen made clear his displeasure with the integrity of the piece, proclaiming that it was the “second-worst piece I’ve ever had handed to me in 43 years,” according to a source. The first-worst was a mistake-ridden profile of Paul Robeson that never saw the printed page. Those 43 years include Allen’s 39 years of service at the Post along with a tenure at the New Haven Register.
The veteran editor gave pretty much the same sharp-elbowed spiel to both Hesse and Roig-Franzia. Hesse responded by asking for the story back so that she could iron out some of the wrinkles.
Roig-Franzia responded by saying, “Henry, don’t be such a cocksucker.”