Axios Reporter Fired After ‘Propaganda’ Reply to Ron DeSantis Press Release

The Florida governor had been set to host an event about diversity, equity and inclusion in higher education

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Ron DeSantis photo courtesy of Getty Images

An Axios reporter was let go after responding to an email about an event hosted by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis with the message, “this is propaganda, not a press release.”

Ben Montgomery, who has not commented publicly on the fallout, was fired Monday.

Axios confirmed to Vanity Fair that Montgomery is no longer with the company but did not elaborate. The news website is based in Arlington, Virginia. It was launched in 2017 by former Politico journalists Jim VandeHei, Mike Allen and Roy Schwartz.

The email sent from the Florida Department of Education Press Office billed the upcoming DeSantis-hosted event as “exposing the diversity equity and inclusion scam in higher education.” DeSantis has previously called his state “where woke goes to die.” A recent ban of more than 80 titles in Martin County schools that included works by Jodi Picoult, James Patterson and Toni Morrison went into effect earlier this month. However, DeSantis’ office has called reports of the ban a “hoax.”

“Perhaps he should have considered being a journalist, not an activist or propagandist,” wrote Christina Pushaw, a DeSantis election campaigner, of Montgomery.

So far, Montgomery has only tweeted that he is enjoying his new downtime. “Some personal news: I made crepes this morning for the first time in years. Strawberry compote and whipped cream. They were delicious,” he wrote in a quote tweet.

Other critics of DeSantis include documentarian Ken Burns, who during a recent CNN appearance compared DeSantis-backed bills to halt the teaching of Critical Race Theory and African-American studies to the Nazis and the Soviet Union. “[These bills] limit our ability to understand who we are, and are not inclusive. They’re exclusive. Their narrowing the focus of what is and isn’t American history is terrifying. It feels like a Soviet system. Or, you know, the way the Nazis would build a Potemkin village,” Burns said earlier this month.