WNYC Says Why it Deleted its Controversial Podcast on Women in Tech

By Kate Knibbs on at

Earlier this month, we asked a question: Why did WNYC delete an episode of its internet-focused podcast TLDR that criticised Vivek Wadhwa, a professor frequently quoted as an expert on the issue of women in technology? The updated episode is now available online, complete with a painfully tense interview between host Meredith Haggerty and Wadhwa.

The short answer to why WNYC pulled the episode: Higher-ups decided it was unfair not to have asked Wadhwa for comment. This update is meant to be a rejoinder to the initial episode.

The fraught back-and-forth gives Wadhwa a platform to respond to the first podcast, but after hearing his responses, I think he actually got lucky that TLDR failed to contact him the first time around. It's a rough listen. Wadhwa accuses Haggerty of twisting his words repeatedly and, when asked if he had something to say to women who believe he is crowding out female voices on the subject of women in tech, says this:

"All I can say is that they don't understand how journalism works."

And as to why he gets interviewed on the topic of women in tech so frequently:

"I do interviews with journalists about four or five times a week. I appear in articles about once every two weeks on this subject. The reason is because I tell journalists that I don't want to be quoted, I'm glad to help them with the story, I'll be glad to talk on background, and I don't need to be in it. Sometimes the journalists come back to me and say 'Vivek, we need a male voice, you're a credible authority on this, because you're a professor, a researcher, we need to have a male voice in our story as well as all the female voices we have."

Here's the full interview: