This could be the hottest, most wildly viral sensation since OnlyFans went mainstream — or the New York Times launched, well, Wordle.
As the Times named Joseph Kahn its new executive editor on Tuesday, succeeding former honcho Dean Baquet, the Old Gray Lady sanctioned a splashy portrait and profile of their nascent leader for New York Magazine — which captured the promotion in a disarmingly seductive way.
The resulting, perhaps unintentional, erotica — featuring enough arched-back and come hither gaze to make pinup pioneers Rita Hayworth and Marilyn Monroe proud — might just drive foot fetishists everywhere into a frenzy, as well.
The glowing feature ran alongside a photo spread of Kahn, 57, including a now widely-mocked image — on social media, of course — showing the well-dressed but shoeless Grey Lady boss in repose, sinuously stretched across an pricey Asian rug on the floor of his regal, mahogany-trimmed Fifth Avenue home office, beside his Chinese-lettered coffee mug and a morning read — the Times, of course.
Needless to say, the stocking-feet portrait hyping the “new, old school” exec editor “relaxing with the paper,” as it’s captioned, was a baffling choice. Readers noted as much online — while drawing a number of comparisons to “Zoolander,” as well as the iconic image of “Seinfeld” character George Costanza posed alluringly in only socks and manties on a fainting couch.
“What was the goal here?” journalist Mairead Elordi asked about the photo in question, snapped by Chris Buck. Newtown shooting survivor and anti-violence advocate JT Lewis added to the sentiment, “I just don’t understand how this probably had to be approved by a slew of people and no one objected.”
“There has not been enough cringe produced in all of human history to properly react to this,” author Jim Hanson responded to the photo.
“I too ‘relax with the paper’ while sitting uncomfortably on the floor right next to my desk and chaise,” Noah Blum joked.
“Draw me like one of your French girls,” RealClearInvestigations senior writer Mark Hemingway parodied, along with another who quipped in a now-deleted reply, “I bet he has many leather bound books, and his office smells of rich mahogany.”
Writer Shawn McCreesh aptly conveyed Kahn — heir to “journalism’s Iron Throne,” the reporter mused, as well as his father’s co-founding Staples fortune — as privileged and “fabulously wealthy,” thanks to an elite Boston upbringing that led to a prestigious boarding school education before graduating from Harvard.
During one passage, McCreesh described the top editor’s enviable lifestyle with his wife Shannon, who formerly worked at world bank, and two elite school-educated sons, while insisting they’re not “flashy.”
Unconvincingly, McCreesh wrote, “But he does have a taste for the finer things. He is a familiar face at opening night of the Metropolitan Opera. He is an oenophile with a particular fondness for Burgundy and is part of a wine consortium that includes the billionaire Joseph Bae.”
The Post has reached out to NYT brass for comment about Kahn’s viral va-va-voom.