The race and inclusion editor for USA Today‘s Sports Media Group was fired last week over what the Washington Examiner described as a “racially charged tweet about the alleged gunman” involved in a shooting in Boulder, Colorado last week that left 10 dead.
In a Medium post published Friday, Hemal Jhaveri said she had been let go from USA Today after “almost eight years” over a “tweet responding to the fact that mass shooters are most likely to be white men.”
In the now-deleted tweet, Jhaveri said “it’s always an angry white man” perpetrating mass killings, as the Examiner reported. “Always.”
It was later revealed that the perpetrator was a 21-year-old Syrian immigrant named Ahmad al Aliwi Alissa.
“We hold our employees accountable”
In her Medium post, Jhaveri admitted that her tweet represented an “over-generalization, tweeted after pictures of the shooter being taken into custody surfaced online.”
“It was a careless error of judgement, sent at a heated time, that doesn’t represent my commitment to racial equality,” she said. “I regret sending it. I apologized and deleted the tweet.”
But that apparently wasn’t enough to satisfy the executives at USA Today‘s parent company, Gannett, who said in a statement to Fox News that the media outlet was “founded on the basis of diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
“We hold our employees accountable to these principles both personally and professionally,” a spokesperson for Gannett said.
“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 statement added.
Former editor doubles down
Jhaveri, for her part, said she wasn’t surprised by the firing, which she blamed largely on “alt-right” users on Twitter.
“I wish I were more surprised by it, but I’m not,” she wrote in her Medium post. “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 went on:
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.