Kevin Williamson, a longtime columnist for National Review, was fired for his opinions on abortion within two weeks of the announcement of his new gig at The Atlantic. After The Atlantic announced they were hiring Williamson, the usual suspects freaked out and proceeded to dig up old tweets and audio to get the magazine’s management to change their minds.
Williamson, who himself was born as an unplanned pregnancy and subsequently adopted, is adamantly pro-life. He once tweeted that women who get an abortion ought to face criminal punishment for killing their children in the womb. He expounded upon that tweet in a podcast episode in which he said he was “absolutely willing to see abortion treated like regular homicide under the criminal code.”
Media Matters For America, a liberal media attack organization, publicized his podcast comments Wednesday. On Thursday morning, Williamson was supposed to participate join an in-office Q&A with his new co-workers, but the event was delayed. By Thursday afternoon, The Atlantic’s editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg sent out a staff-wide memo informing employees that Williamson had been terminated after the podcast audio resurfaced.
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. 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. The tweet was not merely an impulsive, decontextualized, heat-of-the-moment post, as Kevin had explained it. Furthermore, the language used in the podcast was callous and violent. This runs contrary to The Atlantic’s tradition of respectful, well-reasoned debate, and to the values of our workplace.
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.
Many of those who called for Williamson to be fired because of his abortion stance rejoiced at the news.
Several weeks ago, feminist columnist Jessica Valenti encouraged Atlantic employees to wear shirts with a pro-abortion message when interacting with Williamson on his first day on the job.
— Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti) March 28, 2018
On Thursday, she tweeted that she was “very relieved for the women who work at the magazine.”
I still believe Williamson never should have been hired, but I’m so glad that @TheAtlantic is now taking this seriously. Most of all, I am very relieved for the women who work at the magazine.
— Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti) April 5, 2018