Conservative newspaper columnist George Will is being pulled from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper.
Will has been under fire for penning a controversial column earlier this month that argued that victims of sexual assault on college campuses were bestowed “coveted status that confers privileges.”
“The change has been under consideration for several months, but a column published June 5, in which Mr. Will suggested that sexual assault victims on college campuses enjoy a privileged status, made the decision easier,” editor Tony Messenger wrote. “The column was offensive and inaccurate; we apologize for publishing it.”
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is one of the largest newspaper in the midwestern United States, with a daily circulation of 167,199.
The newspaper announced Will would be replaced by former George W. Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson.
The National Organization for Women has also called for Will to “take a break” from his column.
“It is actively harmful for the victims of sexual assault when that kind of man writes a piece that says to assault victims, ‘it didn’t happen and if it did happen you deserve it.’ That retraumatizes victims. I can’t believe that Mr. Will has had the experience if he would put out such a hateful message,” NOW President Terry O’Neill told Media Matters.
Earlier this month, The Washington Post’s editorial page Editor Fred Hiatt defended Will’s column.
“George Will’s column was well within bounds of legitimate debate,” he said. “I welcomed his contribution, as I welcome the discussion it sparked and the responses, some of which we will be publishing on our pages and website. This is what a good opinion site should do. Rather than urge me to silence a viewpoint they disagree with, I would urge others to join the debate, and to do so without mischaracterizing the original column.”