A “Vice News Tonight” story about an overseas vacation retreat that “banned” white people from participating has sparked an outcry on social media after resurfacing over the weekend.
“The idea is simple, for 10 days black women come together to eat vegan food, meditate and do yoga,” said Vice News correspondent Antonia Hylton, who spent a week in Costa Rica at the “Women of Color Healing Retreat.”
The story, which first aired on “Vice News Tonight” in February, took off online for the wrong reason with mostly right-leaning critics lining up to attack the piece. A tweet from Vice promoting the segment received significantly more comments than retweets — a ratio often used as a measure of Twitter criticism.
“I have nothing against segregation as the driving force behind a vacation, and if it helps a few bigoted, stressed out, or self-ruined people cope, great, I’m for it, but the individuals in this clip are REALLY bad representations of what it means to be ‘woke,'” tweeted Playboy columnist Art Tavana on Sunday.
“This truly makes me sad,” actress Kristy Swanson added.
“I wonder why some people think ‘diversity’ and ‘anti-racism’ are code words for white-bashing,” opinion columnist Cathy Young wrote.
Hundreds of others in comments and quote tweets bluntly accused the retreat of promoting racism, while a few defended the idea behind the retreat. “At the risk of playing into ‘identity politics’ can we agree that safe spaces are necessary at times,” one commenter wrote.
Hylton’s piece reported that one participant, Alexis Bromley, spent $2,222 for the trip because she was tired of feeling “segregated” in her U.S. community in Omaha, Nebraska.
“For her and several other women, that’s a reasonable price to pay for a retreat that bans white people,” said Hylton.
The retreat was founded by a former Brooklynite identified only as “Andrea X” who left the Big Apple (and the United States) so she could be away from white people.
“Every time I have a conversation with [white people] I just pick up on certain things that they say, whatever. I pick up on the microaggressions, the passive aggressiveness, I pick up on it,” she told Hylton. “So I decided one day to just eliminate white people from my personal life and ever since then my life has been way more breezy.”
“I feel like white people shouldn’t have passports,” she added. “I have no tips for a white person. My tip to white people is to let us have our space, let us have our room, and go hang out with other white people.”
Though Hylton pushed back on a number of the claims, the piece had no outside voices questioning the premise of the retreat and quite a lot from Hylton and retreat members justifying its existence.
A reps for Vice Media declined to comment. Women of Color Healing Retreats did not respond to requests for comment.
See the tweets below.
This truly made me so sad, I will have to put them in my prayers ????????… https://t.co/xMUp8XLl54
— Kristy Swanson (@KristySwansonXO) December 10, 2018
I have nothing against segregation as the driving force behind a vacation, and if it helps a few bigoted, stressed out, or self-ruined people cope, great, I'm for it, but the individuals in this clip are REALLY bad representations of what it means to be "woke." https://t.co/9Kunljhw5W
— ART TAVANA (@arttavana) December 10, 2018
I wonder why some people think "diversity" and "anti-racism" are code words for white-bashing https://t.co/2Eww9tud5V
— Cathy Young (@CathyYoung63) December 9, 2018
It's really a shame that Vice and its staff choose to frame this narrative primarily around "banning White people" and "escaping White people" as opposed to centering Black Women seeking self care and safety among each other in a world that is very hostile. https://t.co/XAw2Mt7jD6
— Octavia Butler knew… (@Nikyatu) December 9, 2018
Ah – because the solution to racism is even more racism? ???????? https://t.co/bSYPtZ9e0s
— Alex Workman (@workman_06) December 11, 2018
Dividing Americans and igniting racial tension, the one thing our media is really good at. https://t.co/ft8eG9GrMR
— The Reagan Battalion (@ReaganBattalion) December 9, 2018
VICE would be run off the internet if white people were substituted with literally any other race https://t.co/c6oMREFKOn
— Caleb Hull ???????????????? (@CalebJHull) December 10, 2018
Meanwhile, normal people just take vacations.
If this is how you choose to spend your time and money, why would you ever come back? https://t.co/csy41fHDdg
— Derek Hunter (@derekahunter) December 9, 2018
This is what it’s like to take a vacation away from black people.
Women at retreat chant: “my whiteness is bold” “my whiteness in uninhibited” “my whiteness is strength”
Retreat founder: “White people need to start creating their own spaces in the U.S.” https://t.co/ubMuO2Y0aG
— Amanda Prestigiacomo (@AmandaPresto) December 10, 2018
This isn’t a “vacation.” This is a retreat for racists. https://t.co/3LdseaYyXs
— Allie Beth Stuckey (@conservmillen) December 9, 2018
I’m sure your almost exclusively white audience appreciates the racism. https://t.co/LVMbsFSsMt
— Chris Stigall (@ChrisStigall) December 10, 2018