BuzzFeed Writer Resigns After Backlash Over Deleted Dove Post

“It’s been real,” Arabelle Sicardi tweets after editor Julie Gerstein confirms exit in a staff memo

BuzzFeed’s Arabelle Sicardi, who penned the controversial blog post criticizing advertiser Dove, resigned Monday from the social news site.

The site came under fire last week after it was discovered that Sicardi’s post titled “Dove Has Women Walk Through Doors Labeled ‘Beautiful’ Or ‘Average’ In Latest Campaign” was deleted Thursday and replaced with an editor’s note saying, “We pulled this post because it is not consistent with the tone of BuzzFeed Life.”

“You know, maybe those women described themselves as smart, funny, generous, kind, but we’ll never know, because the soap manufacturer wants to tell us how we feel about ourselves. And then fix it for us. With soap,” Sicardi wrote in the original post published on Wednesday.

A spokesperson for BuzzFeed declined comment to TheWrap but did confirm Sicardi’s exit.

“My formal statement on my leaving BuzzFeed: It’s been real,” Sicardi wrote on Twitter, accompanied by a GIF of singer Rihanna gritting her teeth.

In a staff memo, Buzzfeed Style editor Julie Gerstein told editorial staff “sadly Arabelle has decided to move on to pursue other ventures. We are deeply sad to see her go, and will miss her, but we know she is going to do amazingly cool projects and insightful, passionate work in the future.”

 

The disappearance of the article about Dove’s TV spot prompted a scathing post by Gawker on Thursday, which insinuated BuzzFeed pulled its article due to advertiser pressure.

BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith apologized Friday for the deleted post, later republishing and offering a lengthy mea culpa on social media:

Hey all,

I blew it. Twice in the last couple of months, I’ve asked editors — over their better judgment and without any respect to our standards or process — to delete recently published posts from the site. Both involved the same thing: my overreaction to questions we’ve been wrestling with about the place of personal opinion pieces on our site. I reacted impulsively when I saw the posts and I was wrong to do that. We’ve reinstated both with a brief note.

You also have the right to ask about whether we did this because of advertiser pressure, as Gawker suggested. The answer is no. I field complaints all the time from companies and individuals, including advertisers, and see it as my job to shield you from that pressure.

We obviously need to do a better job of giving guidance to writers and editors on the place of personal opinion on the site. That’s an ongoing conversation in which I’d love your input, and we’ll keep you posted.

We’ll have a quick all-edit meeting at 5:00 EST in the back canteen in New York if you’ve got questions; we’ll circulate dial-in information for other offices.

In addition to Sicardi’s Dove post, another recently yanked article was also reinstated.

According to Gawker, this isn’t the first time the site has pulled one of its articles under dubious circumstances. The media news site claims BuzzFeed scrapped more than 4,000 older posts last year alone because they “didn’t age well” or plagiarized other outlets.