USA Today has fired its ‘race and inclusion’ editor for a tweet incorrectly blaming Monday’s deadly Boulder shooting on ‘an angry white man’.
In the immediate aftermath of the shooting in Colorado, which claimed ten lives, Hemal Jhaveri tweeted: ‘It’s always and angry white man, always’.
She had been agreeing to a tweet from Deadspin writer Emily Julia DiCaro who had posted : ‘Extremely tired of people’s lives depending on whether a white man with an AR-15 is having a good day or not.
Jhaveri hastily deleted her tweet when police revealed the shooter was actually Syrian-born Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa.
Alissa, 21, had surrendered to law enforcement officials at the crime scene after he was wounded in an exchange of gunfire with police at the King Soopers grocery store.
Hemal Jhaveri (left) has been fired after agreeing to a tweet by Deadspin writer Emily Julia DiCaro (right) blaming ‘an angry white man’ for the Boulder shooting
Jhaveri quickly deleted her tweet but it was too late to save her job
Ten people were killed in the rampage, including a police officer. It was the second mass shooting in less than a week in the United States, after a gunman fatally shot eight people at three Atlanta-area day spas on March 16.
But Jhaveri’s 8,000-plus followers were quick to accuse her of racism, and USA Today management quickly axed her, she said Friday.
‘I am no longer employed at USA TODAY, a company that was my work home for almost eight years,’ Jhaveri wrote on Medium.
‘On Monday night, I sent a tweet responding to the fact that mass shooters are most likely to be [W]hite men. It was a dashed off over-generalization, tweeted after pictures of the shooter being taken into custody surfaced online.
The shooter was actually Syrian-born Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa. Alissa, 21, had surrendered to law enforcement officials at the crime scene after he was wounded in an exchange of gunfire with police.
‘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.’
However, far from exiting USA Today quietly, Jhaveri fired a broadside at the company and said colleagues had gotten away with far 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’, she wrote.
‘All kept their jobs. 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.
‘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.
Police outside the King Soopers store in Boulder, Colorado
Jhaveri said she was not shocked that her career at USA Today had ended in controversy – and said ‘the ire and anger of alt-right Twitter’ had played a part.
‘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’, she wrote.
‘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.’
Jhaveri’s tweet caused an immediate storm on social media, with demands that she be fired from USA Today
A spokesperson for Gannett, USA Today’s parent company, told Fox News that the paper was ‘founded on the basis of diversity, equity and inclusion’ and that ‘we hold our employees accountable to these principles both personally and professionally.’
‘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,’ the spokesperson added.
Alissa, who made his first court appearance on Thursday, has been charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and a single count of attempted murder, stemming from gunshots he allegedly fired at a second police officer. He will face further attempted-murder charges in the coming weeks.
The suspect, being held without bail, has been transferred to another unspecified lockup outside Boulder County ‘due to safety concerns and threats that our jail staff became aware of,’ sheriff’s spokeswoman Carrie Haverfield told Reuters. She did not elaborate.