Conservative commentator Kevin Williamson was fired from The Atlantic, just weeks after being hired, the magazine told TheWrap.
“Kevin is a gifted writer, and he has been nothing but professional in all of our interactions. But I have come to the conclusion that The Atlantic is not the best fit for his talents, and so we are parting ways,” said editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg in an email to staff on Thursday.
In his memo, obtained by TheWrap, Goldberg explained that Williamson was being terminated over his views on abortion, which have come to wide attention in recent days.
“Late yesterday afternoon, information came to our attention that has caused us to reconsider this relationship. Specifically, the subject of one of Kevin’s most controversial tweets was also a centerpiece of a podcast discussion in which Kevin explained his views on the subject of the death penalty and abortion,” wrote Goldberg.
“The language he used in this podcast–and in my conversations with him in recent days–made it clear that the original tweet did, in fact, represent his carefully considered views,” he added.
While Goldberg himself once trumpeted Williamson’s hire from the National Review, the writer immediately drew outrage — particularly over a tweet in which he argued that women who had had an abortion should face the death penalty. Williamson defenders — and Goldberg himself — had argued that his career should not be judged on an errant tweet.
That narrative began to unravel after liberal watchdog group Media Matters for America uncovered audio footage of Williamson articulating his beliefs on abortion in a 2014 National Review podcast.
“And someone challenged me on my views on abortion, saying, ‘If you really thought it was a crime you would support things like life in prison, no parole, for treating it as a homicide.’ And I do support that, in fact, as I wrote, what I had in mind was hanging,” Williamson said.
“My broader point here is, of course, that I am a — as you know I’m kind of squishy on capital punishment in general — but that I’m absolutely willing to see abortion treated like a regular homicide under the criminal code, sure.”