The tweets came from The Daily Caller's Patrick Howley, who pulled the offensive content shortly after it was published. But the Huffington Post's Ryan Reilly spotted the tweets before they were deleted and let The Daily Caller's editor-in-chief Tucker Carlson know that he had a copy.
Several journalists soon asked Reilly what Howley said, but Reilly initially indicated that he didn't intend to republish the tweets. Howley subsequently taunted Reilly on Twitter.
Then, after receiving permission from Gray, Reilly shared screencaps of the tweets he said "will hopefully haunt" Howley for a long time.
"Not to make an obvious point, but who the Hell would want to pump Rosie Gray?" Howley wrote in one.
"'Pumping' @RosieGray must be the most traumatic experience since Somalia," he wrote in another.
It didn't take long for Howley to delete his Twitter account entirely. Within a couple hours, Reilly tweeted that Carlson had emailed him to say that he and Howley both apologized to Gray. Gray confirmed and said she accepted the apology.
.@ryanjreilly @tuckercarlson he has. I accepted his apology.
— Rosie Gray (@RosieGray) March 20, 2014
It's unclear what, if any, disciplinary action is being brought against Howley. Neither he nor Carlson have responded to TPM's request for comment.
The impetus for Howley's tweets was an outrageous hit piece published Wednesday on the progressive blog Firedoglake. The piece, written by Daniel Wright, attacked Gray for an article she wrote last year about former Clinton adviser Sidney Blumenthal and his son Max, the author of a critical book about Israel.
Wright disparaged Gray's father, the crime novelist Peter Abrahams, and alleged that Gray was romantically linked with a source. The piece initially used lewd language before it was amended. Buzzfeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith denounced Wright's original phrasing on Twitter. Wright has not responded to TPM's request for comment.
Unbelievable, grotesque, sexism toward a young reporter from the progressive @firedoglake. http://t.co/3teaD3aqmp pic.twitter.com/cKk7DIy5Ik
— Ben Smith (@BuzzFeedBen) March 19, 2014
Gray declined to address the kerfuffle, telling TPM in an email that she didn't "want to dignify it with a comment."
This post has been updated.