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Anthony Shadid, the Pulitzer Prize-winning NYT correspondent who died in Syria in February, was arguing with editors before he left, according to his cousin Ed Shadid.
Anthony Shadid, the 43-year-old Pulitzer Prize-winning correspondent who died in Syria in February, was allegedly pressured by his editors at the New York Times to complete his final reporting mission, according to his cousin.
Ed Shadid, a surgeon from Oklahoma, pointed fingers at the New York Times while speaking at the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee's (ADC) convention in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, Politico reported.
“The phone call the night before he left, there was screaming and slamming down the phone in discussions with his editors," Shadid said, according to the Los Angeles Times. "It was at that time that he called his wife and gave his last, haunting directive: That if anything happens to me, I want the world to know the New York Times killed me.”
Shadid died of an apparent asthma attack on February 17, while attempting to leave Syria, where he had been covering the unfolding Arab Spring.
Shadid's wife Nada Bakri declined to comment on the allegations, the Washington Post reported.
"I do not approve of and will not be a part of any public discussion of Anthony’s passing," Bakri said in a short statement. "It does nothing but sadden Anthony’s children to have to endure repeated public discussion of the circumstances of their father’s death."
Abed Ayoub, the legal director of ADC, said the audience was "shocked" by Ed Shadid's comments, Politico reported.
"We didn't expect what was said to be said. I think everyone was shocked," Ayoub said. "It is still a great loss, and we are going to focus on why we honored him. We're not taking a position on how he died. The facts will work themselves out."
The New York Times issued a statement rejecting Shadid's allegations that his cousin held them responsible for his death.
"Anthony's death was a tragedy, and we appreciate the enduring grief that his family feels. With respect, we disagree with Ed Shadid's version of the facts," the paper said in a statement. "The Times does not pressure reporters to go into combat zones. Anthony was an experienced, motivated correspondent. He decided whether, how and when to enter Syria, and was told by his editors, including on the day of the trip, that he should not make the trip if he felt it was not advisable for any reason."
More from GlobalPost: The loss of Anthony Shadid, a profound listener and reporter
Tyler Hicks, the New York Times reporter who was with Shadid in Syria until his died and had planned the reporting trip with the journalist, said that he did not believe that the Times could have pressured his partner into reporting in the region.
“Anthony was very passionate about what was happening to the civilian population in Syria, and he had been there before with another photographer,” Hicks told the Los Angeles Times. “In this, no one can force you, as a journalist, to go to a place like that. There’s no amount of pressure or money — nothing can make you go into that kind of situation except a personal drive and want to go there."
"We both campaigned very hard to go on this assignment," Hicks continued. "In fact, the only time I heard Anthony express any frustration prior to our departure — was due to all of the delays.”