News outlet USA Today fired a “race and inclusion” editor, following a tweet that was accused of being racist where she falsely claimed “an angry white man” was responsible for the recent mass shooting in Boulder Colorado. She deleted the tweet and apologized, but blamed “alt-right Twitter” and Fox News’ Sean Hannity for her firing rather than the editorial policy of her employer.
Soon after reports of the Boulder shooting, which claimed 10 lives, Hemal Jhaveri wrote, “It’s always an angry white man. always.” She was replying to a tweet by Emily Julia DiCaro of Deadspin, who wrote: “Extremely tired of people’s lives depending on whether a white man with an AR-15 is having a bad day or not.”
Jhaveri deleted the tweet after the police confirmed that the shooter was Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, a 21-year-old Syrian-born American. Alissa surrendered to the police at the crime scene after he was wounded in the gun-fire exchange with law enforcement.
The incident resulted in 10 deaths, including a police officer. The suspect, who was denied bail and is being held at an undisclosed location for security reasons, is facing 10 counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder for another police officer he allegedly shot but did not kill.
Jhaveri’s tweet led to accusations of racism. On Friday, USA Today fired her.
She responded to the termination and the backlash over the tweet with a blog post on Medium.
“I am no longer employed at USA TODAY, a company that was my work home for almost eight years,” she wrote. “On Monday night, I sent a tweet responding to the fact that mass shooters are most likely to be white men. It was a dashed off over-generalization, tweeted after pictures of the shooter being taken into custody surfaced online.”
“It was a careless error of [judgment], sent at a heated time, that doesn’t represent my commitment to racial equality. I regret sending it. I apologized and deleted the tweet,” she continued.
In the article, she complains about her former employer by alleging that white colleagues had gotten away with much worse.
“White USA TODAY reporters have been able to minimize racialized people in print, our white Editor-In-Chief was thoughtless about black face, and a senior politics editor (also white) showed disregard for journalistic ethics by hosting a taxpayer funded reception for Trump appointees. All kept their jobs,” she wrote. “Going outside of USA Today, there’s an even longer list of high-profile white journalists who stayed in their positions after accusations of sexual assault, using the n-word, and editorial negligence.”
Jhaveri believes “the ire and anger of the alt-right Twitter,” propelled by Sean Hannity, was the cause of her termination.
“Sending one wrong tweet that ended up in the hands of Sean Hannity on Fox News though, was enough for this publication to turn tail,” she said.
“I wish I were more surprised by it, but I’m not. Some part of me has been waiting for this to happen because I can’t do the work I do and write the columns I write without invoking the ire and anger of alt-right Twitter.
“There is always the threat that tweets which challenge white supremacy will be weaponized by bad faith actors. I had always hoped that when that moment inevitably came, USA TODAY would stand by me and my track record of speaking the truth about systemic racism.
“That, obviously, did not happen.”
A spokesperson for USA Today’s parent company Gannett said that Jhaveri was fired because the publication was “founded on the basis of diversity, equity, and inclusion.” Apparently, the company holds its employees “accountable to these principles both personally and professionally.”
The spokesperson refused to discuss the accusations Jhaveri made on the Medium article, saying:“While we can’t discuss personnel matters and don’t want to comment on the specifics of her statements on Medium, we firmly believe in and stand by our principles of diversity and inclusion.”
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