Ebony Magazine Apologizes For Editor’s Insulting Tweets

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Juan and Raffi Williams

Juan and Raffi Williams

EBONY.com Senior Editor Jamilah Lemieux took to Twitter to mock Ben Carson and Armstrong Williams for starting a political magazine for black conservatives. A Black Entertainment Television producer responded to her tweet saying she wanted to know more and mentioned RNC Deputy Press Secretary Raffi Williams, so the exchange would have show up on his timeline. Lemieux responded back to the BET producer saying “I 100% do not want to know more, I wish I knew less!” Her reply also included the mention of Raffi Williams, so that would have also showed up on his timeline. So he tweeted back to her “wish you knew less? hoped you would encourage diversity of thought.” That set her off, and she fired back “Oh great, here comes a White dude telling me how to do this Black thing. Pass.” (You can see the full back and forth at the Washington Examiner.)

It didn’t take long for a firestorm to erupt and Lemieux kinda, sorta apologized by saying she didn’t realize Williams is black when she insulted him for being white. (As if there is something wrong with being white.)

This morning RNC Chairman Reince Priebus weighed in, asking Ebony’s editor-in-chief to apologize.

Attacking someone for his or her race, heritage or political views is the very thing EBONY has worked to discourage, and actions like those of Ms. Lemieux are far below the basic standards of journalism. She did not even attempt to show journalistic objectivity. And I’m sure you’ll agree with me that it’s unacceptable to refer to those who disagree with you as “roaches.”

Raffi deserves an apology from Ms. Lemieux and from EBONY—not just for making assumptions about his race but more importantly for dismissing black Republicans and the validity of their opinions in public discourse.

In their Twitter exchange, Ms. Lemieux said she had “no interest” in a conversation about encouraging diversity of thought. I’m hopeful, however, that she does not speak for the entire magazine and that we can use this unfortunate episode as a catalyst for greater engagement and understanding between the Republican Party and the black community. (Read More)

Ebony responded in a blog post saying that Lemieux violated the magazine’s founder’s principle that “as Black people, we are all somebody—we all count,” and went on to apologize.

EBONY strongly believes in the marketplace of ideas. As the magazine of record for the African American community, Lemieux’s tweets in question do not represent our journalistic standard, tradition or practice of celebrating diverse Black thought.

[…]

EBONY acknowledges Senior Editor Jamilah Lemieux’s lack of judgment on her personal Twitter account and apologizes to Raffi Williams and the Black Republican community. (Read More)

Not everyone agrees that Ebony should have apologized. Check out the #StandWithJamilah hashtag. I have to wonder how those defending her dismissal of Williams when she thought he was white would have reacted if she had been a white editor, dismissing someone she thought was black. Something tells me that person would’t have defenders from either side of the political aisle.