Jonathan Hillel Kay
1968 (age 50–51)
Jonathan Kay (born 1968) is a Canadian journalist. He was the editor-in-chief of The Walrus (2014-2017) and currently a senior editor of Quillette. He was previously comment pages editor, columnist, and blogger for the Toronto-based Canadian daily newspaper National Post, and continues to contribute to the newspaper on a freelance basis, He is also a book author and editor, a public speaker, and a regular contributor to Commentary and the New York Post.
His freelance articles have been published in a variety of US publications including Newsweek,The New Yorker,[better source needed]Salon.com,The New Republic,Harper's Magazine, the Los Angeles Times,The Weekly Standard, the Literary Review of Canada,The National Interest and The New York Times.
Jonathan Kay was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec. His mother is the socially conservative newspaper columnist Barbara Kay. He attended Selwyn House School and Marianopolis College before obtaining a BEng and an MEng in metallurgical engineering from McGill University and a law degree from Yale Law School. He is a member of the New York bar. After practicing as a tax lawyer in New York City, Kay moved to Toronto, where, in 1998, he became a founding member of the National Post editorial board. Kay describes himself as an avid tennis and board game enthusiast, and sometimes has incorporated his passion for both pursuits into his journalism.
Kay joined the National Post at its inception, in 1998, as a member of its editorial board, subsequently becoming the newspaper's Comment editor as well as a columnist. He left the newspaper's staff in 2014 but continues appearing in its pages as a freelance columnist.
Apart from his editorial work, Kay has also written two non-fiction books. In 2007, Kay co-authored The Volunteer, a biography of Mossad officer Michael Ross. In May 2011, HarperCollins published Kay's second book, Among the Truthers: A Journey Through America's Growing Conspiracist Underground (ISBN 978-0-06-200481-9). The book reflects Kay's interest in the psychology of conspiracy theorists.
Kay was a freelance editorial assistant on Liberal Party of Canada leader Justin Trudeau's memoir Common Ground published by HarperCollins with duties that included conducting some of the interviews with Trudeau that were used for the book. Kay's participation in the project was criticized by conservatives in social media as well as by Sun News Network personality Ezra Levant, on whose 2009 book Shakedown Kay also worked on as an editorial assistant.
Kay was named editor-in-chief of The Walrus, a Canadian general interest magazine, on October 29, 2014. Kay left the Post on November 21, 2014, but continued to contribute opinion pieces on a freelance basis.
He resigned as editor-in-chief of The Walrus on May 13, 2017, following a controversy around cultural appropriation in which Kay argued that concerns by Indigenous writers about the practice should be balanced against the right to free artistic representation. Kay said the reason he left was because of conflicts between his role as a manager at a respected media brand and as a columnist and media panelist in which he would state controversial opinions and that he had felt the need to self-censor his byline pieces and commentary outside of The Walrus. "In recent months especially, I have been censoring myself more and more, and my colleagues have sometimes been rightly upset by disruptions caused by my media appearances. Something had to give, and I decided to make the first move. I took no severance," he said in an email written to The Globe and Mail. Kay added that there had been no conflict between himself and the publisher of The Walrus and that he had been given a free hand to edit the magazine and its website and that the pressure he had felt to self-censor was in relation to his non-Walrus work.
Yves Engler wrote in rabble.ca: "Kay was a bigot when they hired him to be editor-in-chief two years ago. Kay has repeatedly smeared Arabs and Muslims in the service of Israeli expansionism", adding that he also "published a wildly Islamophobic screed", disseminated by the far-right Jewish Defense League, titled Jonathan Kay on Muslim anti-Semitism: A hate reaching back 1,400 years, claiming that "the continued vibrancy and economic success of Jewish civilization - so close to Islam's very heartland - is precisely what has fed Muslim rage and jealousy for 14 centuries"; adding that violence is "encouraged and fetishized in such a lurid manner and [is] why so few Middle Eastern Muslims regard them ['suicide terrorism and missile volleys'] as a disgraceful or even regrettable part of their culture."
In 2002, he was awarded Canada's National Newspaper Award for Critical Writing. In 2004, he was awarded a National Newspaper Award for Editorial Writing. He is currently a visiting fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.