Atlantic editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg earlier this week defended his decision to hire conservative columnist Kevin Williamson, who once tweeted that women who’d had abortions should be hanged.
“I don’t think that taking a person’s worst tweets, or assertions, in isolation is the best journalistic practice,” Goldberg said in a memo sent to the Atlantic staff, which Slate published on Tuesday. “I have read most, or much, of what he has written; some of his critics have not done the same.”
The Atlantic did not immediately respond to TPM’s request to obtain Goldberg’s full memo.
Goldberg’s memo came after the publication was criticized for bringing on such an extreme figure in an effort to make its newsroom “ideologically diverse.”
“By hiring Williamson, The Atlantic is sending a clear message: That the worst kind of harassment and intimidation women face — extremism that has been directly linked to real life violence — is acceptable,” Guardian columnist Jessica Valenti wrote in a Medium post.
In the memo, Goldberg stated that it’s “my mission to make sure that we outdo our industry in achieving gender equality,” a claim critics say is difficult to square with this latest hire, which could be seen as disregarding any female Atlantic employee who may or may not have had the procedure Williamson believes should subject her to execution.
Williamson’s tweet wasn’t his only controversial “assertion.” The former National Review writer also described a black child as a “three-fifths-scale Snoop Dog” while comparing him to a primate, and insisted trans actress Laverne Cox “is not a woman.”
Williamson later defended his description of the black child.
Read the full memo at Slate.
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