USA Today ‘race and inclusion’ editor fired for prematurely saying Boulder shooter was white (PS – she was wrong)

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On March 26th, a USA Today editor was fired over a tweet she had posted in response to the deadly shooting that occurred in Boulder, Colorado, earlier in March in which she prematurely blamed the attack on a “white man.”

Hemal Jhaveri, the now-former “race and inclusion” editor of USA Today’s Sports Media Group, was one of many zealots who rushed to judgment, alleging that a “white man” was to blame for the ten-person massacre at a grocery store in Boulder on March 22nd.

In the offending tweet in question, which has since been deleted, Jhaveri had responded in agreeance to Deadspin writer Emily Julia DiCaro who wrote that she’s “Extremely tired of people’s lives depending on whether a white man with an AR-15 is having a good day or not.”

Apparently, the former USA Today editor saw the above tweet and thought it was a good idea to respond with:

“It’s always an angry white man. Always.”

Obviously, as the facts started to pour out regarding the incident in Boulder, it was later revealed that the suspect allegedly behind the shooting was a Syrian man by the name of Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa.

Furthermore, to be so brazenly presumptuous and consumed by an apparent subscription to a racial stereotype is not exactly the best look for someone bearing the role of “race and inclusion” editor.

In a rather fair collective response, critics accused Jhaveri and others who thought the gunman was white of racism after police named the suspect as Syrian-born Colorado resident Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa.

According to a personal blog post on Medium, Jhaveri revealed that days after her Twitter post, she’d been let go from USA Today:

“I am no longer employed at USA TODAY, a company that was my work home for almost eight years.”

In the blog posting that carried a seemingly sullen tone throughout the written-diatribe, Jhaveri explained what transpired from the time she wrote the tweet to her termination:

“On Monday night, I sent a tweet responding to the fact that mass shooters are most likely to be white men. It was a dashed off over-generalization, tweeted after pictures of the shooter being taken into custody surfaced online.

“It was a careless error of judgement, sent at a heated time, that doesn’t represent my commitment to racial equality. I regret sending it. I apologized and deleted the tweet.

“By Tuesday morning, after the shooter was identified as Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, several high profile alt-right Twitter accounts picked up the tweet as an example of anti-white bias and racism against whites.

“You can guess what happens next.

“There was social media outrage, threats and harassment towards me, and by the end of the day, USA TODAY had relieved me of my position as a Race and Inclusion editor.”

These supposed “high profile alt-right Twitter accounts” Jhaveri was referring to in her blog was supported by some screen shots of seven Twitter accounts calling for her termination, six of which were sock-puppet accounts with six “likes” or less on the tweets they put out calling for her firing.

The only “high profile” account she shared a screen shot of calling for her termination was that of Dave Rubin, who is perhaps the furthest thing from being “alt-right.”

For those who don’t know, while Rubin is certainly conservative from a political-policy perspective, his show The Rubin Report originally debuted on the heavily left-leaning network The Young Turks.

Nonetheless, despite Jhaveri noting in her blog post that she did “regret sending” the offending tweet leading to her termination, she also attempted to justify the offending tweet later on in the same blog post by alleging her actions were an effort to “challenge white supremacy”:

“There is always the threat that tweets which challenge white supremacy will be weaponized by bad faith actors. I had always hoped that when that moment inevitably came, USA TODAY would stand by me and my track record of speaking the truth about systemic racism. That, obviously, did not happen.”

Unfortunately, there are some people in the world that will shoot themselves in the foot, and proclaim that they’ve instead stepped on a rusty nail when clamoring about the pain.

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In other news that lives in the realm of cancel culture, apparently a Theater in Minnesota decided to shut down a slated production because they realized that they’d cast far too many white folks. 

Here’s that previous report. 

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CHANHASSEN, MN– A dinner theater company in Minnesota has cancelled its upcoming performance of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella over concerns regarding the cast’s lack of diversity.

In a release from the organization, Chanhassen Dinner Theatres (CDT) said, in part:

“Our hope in beginning the production process again with a new title will allow us to put into practice an intentional process based on the work we have been doing towards equity and inclusivity.”

The statement added:

“We did not cancel Cinderella because of content. We are looking forward to bringing it to our stage in the future, but we as a company decided our original casting didn’t go far enough in our commitment and instead of waiting another full year to implement these important changes, we chose now.”

In a recent interview with the Twin Cities Pioneer Press, the theater’s artistic director, Michael Brindisi, said the musical’s casting fell far short of the company’s diversity goals. He said in a statement:

“It was 98 percent white. That doesn’t work with what we’re saying we’re going to do.”

According to reports, the theater also announced new diversity protocols it will be implementing going forward, including bringing black, indigenous, and other artists of color to analyze future productions before they begin the casting process. The organization said:

“We believe this new process will allow us to tell the story in a rich way and allow us to live our our commitment to identity-conscious casting and becoming a more intentionally anti-racist theater.”

Brindisi said the company considered recasting the show, but instead chose to “scrap this and start fresh with a clean slate.” He added:

“Some of the actors were disappointed, but every one to a person said they got it and that they respected the very hard decision we had to make.”

To help foster those moves, the theater company has hired diversity consultant Kelli Foster Warder, who will devise a plan to address changes in how the theater operates in the future. Brindisi said:

“We wanted to meet it head on. We need to fix things and we’re going to do just that.”

In part of the theater company’s release, their statement said:

“It is important to note that we are also in the process of analyzing other production areas that have been brought to out attention including auditions and rehearsals. We are committed to safe, equitable spaces in all areas and we will continue to update our DEI statement as we explore and refine these plans with our teams.”

The theater will produce a revival of the musical Footloose! in place of Cinderella. Their website added:

“We are excited to announce that following The Music Man, Chanhassen Dinner Theatres will be producing Footloose! This show was hugely successful for us when it ran 11 years ago and we are excited to explore it again in a new context.”

In February, CDT announced that The Music Man would reopen July 2nd at 50 percent capacity assuming it meets both the COVID guidelines at the time and gains the approval of the actors’ union. 

Brindisi said that several actors are not able to rejoin The Music Man in July and that he is looking to add more diversity to that show when he recasts the roles. As stated on their website:

“Details about auditions will be announced in the early summer. In addition, we will soon be accepting submissions for replacements in our current production of The Music Man, with a strong priority placed on casting BIPOC artists to join the cast.”

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