USA Today's race and inclusion editor Hemal Jhaveri was fired this week after she claimed that "it's always an angry white man" who commits mass shootings, race-baiting in the wake of the Boulder attack. Jhaveri has since alleged that she was let go for "challenging whiteness."
When news broke Monday of the supermarket massacre in Boulder, Colorado, liberal blue checkmarks on Twitter didn't hesitate to assume that the gunman is white before authorities identified 21-year-old suspect Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa. It's also been revealed that the accused shooter has expressed sympathies for ISIS.
"It's always an angry white man. [A]lways," Jhaveri charged Monday in the since-deleted tweet. The Gannett company then booted Jhaveri after almost eight years of employment and "pushing for equitable coverage of marginalized communities."
On Friday the disheveled journalist admitted via Medium that her commentary "sent at a heated time" was indeed "a careless error of judgement." She further insisted that the post doesn't represent her "commitment to racial equality."
Jhaveri narrated how "several high profile alt-right Twitter accounts" exposed the tweet Tuesday "as an example of anti-white bias and racism against whites."
Conservative pundit Dave Rubin responded to the Medium post, which embedded the BlazeTV host's tweet. "The USA Today girl who just got fired is calling me alt right. I'd like to send her my book, which is a defense of classical liberalism, but she blocked me. Journalism 101," Rubin replied Friday evening.
"Some part of me has been waiting for this to happen because I can't do the work I do and write the columns I write without invoking the ire and anger of alt-right Twitter," Jhaveri countered. "There is always the threat that tweets which challenge white supremacy will be weaponized by bad faith actors."
Jhaveri stated she had "always hoped" when "that moment inevitably came," USA Today would stand by the editor's purported "track record of speaking the truth about systemic racism," she wrote, adding: "That, obviously, did not happen."
In the termination email axing her, USA Today's standards and ethics editor said Jhaveri had been disciplined before for similar circumstances, but did not offer specifics. Jhaveri recounted calling out another reporter's "white privilege" circa 2017. Then in 2018, she pushed back against USA Today sports columnist Martin Rogers, because his piece "dismissed the human rights violations in Qatar."
Jhaveri claimed her previous tweets were flagged "not for inaccuracy or for political bias," but for "naming whiteness" as problematic. "That is something USA TODAY, and many other newsrooms across the country, can not tolerate."
"Like many BIPOC writers in newsrooms," Jhaveri alleged that she has "also dealt with the constant micro-aggressions and outright racist remarks from the majority white staff." She noted two separate occasions. Jhaveri said she was asked to edit copy on young black golfers, but was "warned not to use language that would alienate white audiences." When meeting with the new Sports Media Group manager, Jhaveri continued, the supervisor interrupted as she was informing him about her qualifications and asked if she can tell him where she's from.
She stated she stayed as long as she did because For The Win's small subsection allowed Jhaveri "to push for real inclusion." When the fall out from each column left Jhaveri vulnerable to social media backlash, she accused USA Today of never offering public or institutional support. Jhaveri penned: "...I've had to walk the fine line of advocating for diverse and better stories, while also realizing that the comfort of our white audiences needed to be kept top of mind."
"On social media, that is what I failed at. There is nothing so offensive to some readers as calling out white supremacy..." she wrote, declaring that she's stood "for true equality" and anti-racism. "That work can not be done without calling out existing power relations" in the public forum, Jhaveri asserted, maintaining that the situation is "not about bias" or blasting personal opinions on Twitter. "It’s about challenging whiteness and being punished for it."
USA Today has been vocal about trumpeting the editorial leadership's commitment to diversity, equality, and inclusion, Jhaveri wrote. In this case after the egregious mistake, the company "contradicted" corporate's liberal mission, which she claimed is "subservient to white authority," and "wilted upon criticism."
"So many newsrooms claim to value diverse voices, yet when it comes to backing them up, or looking deeper into how white supremacy permeates their own newsrooms, they quickly retreat," Jhaveri concluded. In order to enact change, editors must allow minority writers to critique "white structural relations," she said. She called what's perceived by many as bias "saddening and dispiriting."
The Nation sports editor Dave Zirin reacted to Jhaveri's plight: "This is brutal. All solidarity. Big fan of your work." Then the "Edge of Sports" podcaster offered Jhaveri to pitch book ideas via direct message, highlighting how he has an imprint related to sports and politics at Akashic Books, the self-described indie publisher "dedicated to reverse-gentrification of the literary world."
Jhaveri believed last week that Teen Vogue's editor-in-chief Alexi McCammond, who resigned after old allegations of social media racism resurfaced, was not victimized by cancel culture and didn't lose the position over the scandal.