Joe Nocera reports for The Free Press. Plus: The hit job on Andrew Huberman, the middle-aged millennial meltdown, the Baltimore bridge collapse, and P. Diddy.
Debris from an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX near Bishoftu, a town some 60 kilometers southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on March 10, 2019. (Michael Tewelde/AFP via Getty Images)

Boeing’s Dead Whistleblower Told the Truth

Joe Nocera reports. Plus: The hit job on Andrew Huberman, the middle-aged millennial meltdown, the Baltimore bridge collapse, P. Diddy, and much more.

Hi all! Oliver Wiseman is in Switzerland, which is apparently where refined Brits see off winter. So I’m the captain now. Let’s start with Boeing.

On Monday, two weeks after the death of whistleblower John Barnett, the aviation company announced that the CEO and the chairman of the board were being booted. What the hell is going on with Boeing?

Here’s Joe Nocera from our lead story at The Free Press:

In the days before his death, John Barnett was in Charleston, giving a deposition for the whistleblower suit he had filed against Boeing. According to one of his lawyers, Rob Turkewitz, he was upbeat about his testimony, feeling he was finally able to tell the story of his efforts to get the company to take safety more seriously—and the rejection of those efforts by his bosses, who, according to Barnett, simply didn’t want to hear about it. 

The last day of the deposition was scheduled for Saturday, March 9. But that morning, he was found in his truck, a bullet in his head and a gun in his hand. The police said it was “a self-inflicted wound.”

The reaction from people who knew Barnett was utter disbelief. On that last day, his lawyers told Time magazine, “he was in very good spirits and really looking forward to putting this phase of his life behind him and moving on. We didn’t see any indication he would take his own life. No one can believe it.” A family friend told ABC News that he had told her, “I ain’t scared, but if anything happens to me, it’s not suicide.” 

The internet lit up. It was an “alleged suicide,” or “an apparent suicide.” “Whatever happened to John Barnett, the Boeing whistle-blower who declared he wasn’t suicidal and then died from ‘an apparent suicide?’ ” read one post on X. The clear implication was that Boeing was somehow involved in his death. (In a statement, the company said, “We are saddened by Mr. Barnett’s passing, and our thoughts are with his family and friends.”)

As suspicious as his death was, no one in a position of power is calling for an investigation. And they’re not likely to. But I do know this: everything John Barnett said about Boeing’s problems was true. Everything. If the company had been willing to listen to him, 346 airline passengers would still be alive. And maybe Barnett would be too.

Read Joe’s full report:

Much of social media is designed to make us feel bad about ourselves. But rarely does an online trend just come out and say as much. 

Right now, a trend on TikTok dares people to post videos of themselves on the platform and ask its millions of users: “How old do I look?” The answers are grim. “Nothing good comes from inviting millions of internet strangers to rate your appearance, but it’s the predictable outcome of this exercise,” Kat Rosenfield writes today in The Free Press. “Watching these videos, I couldn’t help thinking of that Samuel L. Jackson line from Pulp Fiction: ‘If my answers frighten you, Vincent, then you should cease asking scary questions.’ ”

Culture critic extraordinaire Kat Rosenfield reports from the internet’s front line:

Ten Stories We’re Reading Now

  1. Adam Neumann, the WeWork founder who was ousted by the board five years ago, wants to buy it back for $500 million. (WSJ

  2. Amit Soussana, an Israeli former hostage of Hamas, speaks out, in harrowing detail, about her time in captivity, and the sexual assault she suffered. (NYT

  3. House Rep. Jamaal Bowman repeatedly called reports of the sexual assault on Israeli women by Hamas “propaganda.” He’s since reversed several of his statements and now declines to discuss them. (Politico)  

  4. A cargo ship collided with a column holding up the Francis Scott Key Bridge, causing it to collapse into the Baltimore Port. While two people were saved from the water, six are presumed dead. (Baltimore Sun) 

  5. Federal agents raided P. Diddy’s Los Angeles and Miami homes amid allegations the rapper is involved in a sex trafficking ring. (The Sun

  6. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments over whether a pill used in abortions—mifepristone—should be banned, with justices reportedly skeptical of restricting access. A decision is due in June or July. (CNN

  7. Nicole Shanahan, the ex-wife of Google founder Sergey Brin who is also possibly the ex-fling of Tesla founder Elon Musk, has been chosen as the presidential running mate of everyone else’s ex, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Mazel tov! (WSJ)

  8. Gisele Bündchen is divorced, glowing, living in a cottage in Florida with her two kids, and cooking healthy meals in a cutout dress. (NYT

  9. The FTC might soon hit TikTok with a lawsuit over privacy laws and data breaches. (ByteDance, which owns TikTok, claims Beijing officials don’t have access to user information.) (Politico

  10.  On Stanford’s campus, flagrant and unapologetic antisemitism reigns. Sophomore Theo Baker reports. (The Atlantic

Who’s Afraid of Andrew Huberman?

Neurobiology professor and host of the Huberman Lab podcast Andrew Huberman in Boston, Massachusetts, in September 2023. (Chance Yeh via Getty Images)

The neuroscientist and podcaster Andrew Huberman is a famous guy in our weird, balkanized, digitized age. The millions of people who have heard of him can probably tell you what his resting heart rate is and what brand of granola he prefers. But most Americans—yes, I asked my mom—still have no idea who he is.

So when I saw that New York magazine had devoted over eight thousand words to a guy known for advising listeners how to optimally sleep, eat, exercise, and mate, I expected that they had the goods. I read the line, “The problem with a man always working on himself is that he may also be working on you,” and prepared myself for an exposé where Huberman gathers his harem together and brands them, NXIVM-style. Or that he drinks the blood of young women after his daily cold plunge. A weird kink. Even a kink. Anything!

But there is nothing. Or just about nothing—that is, assuming you are a human being living in the real world who would be neither surprised nor scandalized to learn that jacked, attractive, smart, successful men tend to date multiple women at the same time and then lie about it.

I’m not saying it’s great that Andrew Huberman, in one single day, managed to fly in one of his girlfriends to California from Texas, only to leave her with his dog to meet another girlfriend at a coffee shop to talk about their relationship, before texting yet another, to thank her “for being so next, next, level gorgeous and sexy.” And then sending yet another message to yet another girlfriend, “Sleep well beautiful.” Not great at all. It’s gross. He’s the kind of guy I would urge my friends to avoid. Though if I’m honest, that sheer feat of scheduling also displays the sort of take-control-of-life optimization he’s famous for. 

Midway through the piece—and stop me if you’ve heard this one—the lies pile up too high. Huberman gets in over his head, and all the women—the actress, the wellness freak, the straight-talking New Yorker, the funny one in L.A, the “dreamy” Texan—find out about each other, mostly via Instagram. He had convinced them all that the other women they had heard about were nuts, but now they’ve all left him, choosing the warm glow of female friendship and a group chat where they send each other memes. They give themselves Care Bear names and plan a summer getaway. They hold space, they help each other hold boundaries. Cue the credits.

From the piece: “There’s so much pain,” says Sarah, who dated him on and off for five years. “Feeling we had made mistakes. We hadn’t been enough. We hadn’t been communicating. By making these other women into the other, I hadn’t really given space for their hurt. And let it sink in with me that it was so similar to my own hurt.”  

Here’s a rule of thumb: if you’re at the point in a breakup where you’re talking about making and giving space for hurt, or even using hurt as a noun, and New York magazine calls you, place your phone directly in the toilet.

I was in a sorority. I know how these things go. There’s a mania, the high of being right about that guy your friend dated who you never really liked, of catching the sonofabitch in the lie, and backing up your girlfriends—“He tricked you!”—with the wild loyalty of a kamikaze pilot going down. It’s exhilarating. It’s fun. It can also be helpful.  

But it’s painful to read through the gymnastics required to both paint the women, described variously as “beautiful,” “assertive,” “successful,” “educated,” “sharp-witted,” and “organized,” as faultless, and the podcaster—who they all consented to dating as adults—as some kind of monster. (Another gobsmacker from the piece: “In private, he could sometimes seem less concerned about patriarchy.” J’accuse!) The fault, it’s implied, isn’t in these women but in the man they all attached themselves to, who, in order to have duped them, must have used some dark triad, Stanford-learned mind control that he is now imparting to his millions of listeners. 

You didn’t think that Huberman, a man who studies and constantly discusses apex physiological performance, would have ego and control issues? You’re shocked that a media phenom is flaky and overbooked? Be for real.

We’re meant to believe these women didn’t have the agency to leave their cheating boyfriend who didn’t prioritize them. Meanwhile, last week’s New York mag cover story argued that children have the agency to change their sex. Weird.

Thank God the women of the HuberHarem found each other and came to their senses. I wish them and their group chat well. Their only mistake was going to the press. Well, and thinking Andrew Huberman was monogamous.   

Should America Shut Its Borders?

That’s the subject of our next live debate, April 11 in Dallas.

Best-selling author Ann Coulter and Sohrab Ahmari, founder and editor of Compact magazine, will argue yes. They will face off against Nick Gillespie, editor-at-large for Reason magazine, and Cenk Uygur, founder of The Young Turks. Bari will moderate. 

Join them, and other free-thinking readers of The Free Press, on April 11 at the Majestic Theatre in Dallas, Texas. Get your tickets to the event, and to the after-party—there are still a few left!—here

Suzy Weiss is a reporter at The Free Press. Follow her on X @SnoozyWeiss.

Become a Free Press subscriber today:

Subscribe now

our Comments

Use common sense here: disagree, debate, but don't be a .

the fp logo
comment bg

Welcome to The FP Community!

Our comments are an editorial product for our readers to have smart, thoughtful conversations and debates — the sort we need more of in America today. The sort of debate we love.   

We have standards in our comments section just as we do in our journalism. If you’re being a jerk, we might delete that one. And if you’re being a jerk for a long time, we might remove you from the comments section. 

Common Sense was our original name, so please use some when posting. Here are some guidelines:

  • We have a simple rule for all Free Press staff: act online the way you act in real life. We think that’s a good rule for everyone.
  • We drop an occasional F-bomb ourselves, but try to keep your profanities in check. We’re proud to have Free Press readers of every age, and we want to model good behavior for them. (Hello to Intern Julia!)
  • Speaking of obscenities, don’t hurl them at each other. Harassment, threats, and derogatory comments that derail productive conversation are a hard no.
  • Criticizing and wrestling with what you read here is great. Our rule of thumb is that smart people debate ideas, dumb people debate identity. So keep it classy. 
  • Don’t spam, solicit, or advertise here. Submit your recommendations to if you really think our audience needs to hear about it.
Close Guidelines