Two tweets sparked cancel culture meltdowns at two pillars of the D.C. establishment: the Washington Post and Georgetown University.
Cancel culture meltdowns consumed the Washington Post and Georgetown University, forcing the resignation of a Georgetown law professor and causing the suspension of a Washington Post reporter in separate incidents Monday.
- Washington Post reporter Dave Weigel retweeted a joke from Youtuber Cam Harless, who wrote, “Every girl is bi. You just have to figure out if it’s polar or sexual.”
- Weigel quickly deleted the post and apologized. For this transgression, the Post suspended him without pay until July 5.
- Fellow WaPo reporter Felicia Sonmez, whose discrimination lawsuit against the Post was thrown out in March, launched a series of attacks on Weigel, and her employer on Twitter, leading other WaPo employees to attack each other on the platform, trading accusations of harassment, “unrelenting series of attacks” and appeals to management.
- Sonmez herself was suspended by the Post in 2020 for sharing stories alleging Kobe Bryant committed sexual assault in the hours after his tragic death in a helicopter crash. Weigel defended Sonmez and celebrated the end of her suspension.
- Georgetown University placed newly-hired constitutional law scholar Ilya Shapiro on leave in February after he tweeted Biden should have selected “solid prog & v smart” (sic) Judge Sri Srinivasan for the Supreme Court instead of a “lesser black woman.”
- Shapiro deleted the tweet and apologized for his “inartful” wording within a day. In response, Georgetown Law Dean William Treanor condemned the tweet as “appalling” and “damaging to the culture of equity and inclusion” of Georgetown.
- After 122 days, the University checked a calendar and determined that because he had not yet started his job, university policies did not yet apply to him.
- Shapiro resigned from the job he never actually started shortly after. He condemned Georgetown for stifling free speech from conservatives while protecting a liberal professor who said white men deserve “miserable deaths while feminists laugh as they take their last gasps. Bonus: we castrate their corpses and feed them to swine? Yes.”
- The Daily Beast reported Washington Post executive editor Sally Buzbee urged her staff to treat each other with “respect and kindness” after Felicia Sonmez’s Twitter meltdown and public attacks on Weigel and reporter Jose Del Real. (Author’s note: I say the same thing to my first-grade students when they squabble on the playground)
- The New York Times linked Shapiro’s resignation with Princeton’s firing of professor Joshua Katz for “not being fully cooperative with an investigation into a sexual relationship with a student,” which he had been punished for years ago… Katz’s supporters believe – with some evidence – that the years-old controversy was resurrected as an excuse to punish him for an op-ed criticizing Princeton’s so-called diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.
- The Washington Post published a piece by one of Shapiro’s Georgetown colleagues, who argued that “free-speech rallying cries typically come at extraordinary costs to marginalized groups” and elevating free speech “often means accepting the denigration of women, people of color, and Indigenous people.” She argued because of that tweet, retaining Shapiro would’ve “closed off” programs to Black female students.
- The New York Post traced the fall of the Washington Post “from Watergate to whinegate.” A half-century after bringing down a president, the Post was consumed as “two Mean Girl basket cases spend an entire weekend crazily lurching around spitting inane accusations at their colleagues for microagressing them.”
- Ruthless Podcast broke down the Washington Post “meltdown,” giving listeners insight into why the Washington Post publishes what it does: “the inmates are running the asylum” as “journos eat their own.”
- Ilya Shapiro explained why he quit Georgetown in an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal. He excoriated the university for yielding to “the progressive mob” and creating a hostile work environment. His reinstatement on a technicality made it clear that the next excuse the university could find to fire him, they would do so. At Georgetown, the mere fact that people were offended is enough to break the rules.
Both the Georgetown University and Washington Post cancel culture meltdowns raise serious questions about labor rights. If an employee retweets or tweets something they regret and quickly apologizes, how can days- or months-long public harassment campaigns from their colleagues or superiors be an acceptable response? Once, when working people made up the Democratic Party base, the Party cared about workers’ rights and the rights of labor when dealing with management.
Now that progressivism has been taken over by the managerial class, concerns for labor rights have fallen by the wayside. Instead, these workplaces foster cultures of harassment and bullying in the name of enforcing ever-more-rigid ideological orthodoxy. Especially if you work at one of these spaces – a university, a left or mainstream media organization (but I repeat myself) or in the non-profit industrial complex, you should adhere to the first rule of Twitter: never Tweet.
© Dominic Moore, 2022