Esquire magazine found itself embroiled in a fiery debate on social media after publishing a cover story on a 17-year-old white teenager.
The publication came under fire for its March cover story focusing on Ryan Morgan from West Bend, Wisconsin as a white American boy growing up “in the era of social media, school shooting, toxic masculinity, #MeToo, and a divided country.”
The story choice and the cover sparked outrage on social media as many denounced Esquire for “radicalizing white mediocrity for the clicks,” and having it hit newsstands during Black History Month.
maybe instead of radicalizing white mediocrity for the clicks esquire could dedicate its otherwise very talented team to reporting on, idk, literally anything !!!!!!
— Fran Tirado (@fransquishco) February 12, 2019
I do not mind that there exists an article somewhere in the world about young white boys of privilege needing to relearn about masculinity. I do mind that it’s on the cover of @esquire during Black History Month. pic.twitter.com/QK3yVdKbN8
— Abigail Collazo (@LeftStandingUp) February 12, 2019
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s daughter, Christine Pelosi, slammed the publication for “making a series of bad choices.”
“Ryan” was being used here.
A lesson in media profiles: it’s not just you telling your story – it’s how your story is marketed.
Was there NO black editor to say “it’s not a good cover for #BlackHistoryMonth “?! Or a choice to use a less hapless quote during another month?
— Christine Pelosi (@sfpelosi) February 12, 2019
Former ESPN host Jemele Hill fired off a tweet loaded with sarcasm.
Because you know what we don’t discuss nearly enough? The white male experience. ??♀️ pic.twitter.com/HTbq4wK1TJ
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) February 12, 2019
Esquire editor-in-chief Jay Fielden explained in a separate piece entitled “Why Your Ideological Echo Chamber Isn’t Just Bad For You,” that the March cover story on Morgan is part of a “series on growing up now — white, black, LGBTQ, female — that will continue to appear in coming issues.”
Fielden added that author Jennifer Percy was asked “to look at our divided country through the eyes of one kid.”
“Ryan Morgan is his name. He’s white, lives in the middle of the reddest county in Wisconsin, and, as you will see, he is an unusually mature, intelligent, and determined young man,” Fielden said.
Fox guest Michael Knowles denies the tone-deafness of Esquire’s ‘An American Boy’ cover for black history month, because “they don’t yet have a middle class teen white boy month.” pic.twitter.com/DR6lkPssPT
— Bobby Lewis (@revrrlewis) February 13, 2019
The installment focusing on Morgan detailed the “struggles” faced by the high school senior as a Trump supporter.
‘Last year was really bad,’ he told the magazine. ‘I couldn’t say anything without pissing someone off.’
‘It ruined friendships and changed social groups. People were making friends based on their politics more than anything,” he said.
But Esquire was torched on social media for nearly everything about their new issue.
— Deb Jannerson (@DebJannerson) February 9, 2019
— Will Sommer (@willsommer) February 11, 2019
So which person who works at this magazine thought this was a good cover and story. As the mother of a 16 year old lower middle class white male child, his life is fine because he is not an asshole. The trick is do not be an asshole, and maybe don’t be raised by a assholes.
— ?Forest Witch? (@TxSoonergalAD) February 11, 2019
If you’re Black, queer, trans, a woman or any further marginalized you have to literally change the world before you become a cover star, but Esquire shows us that white cishet men and boys get to simply exist and be seen as worthy.
— Raquel Willis (@RaquelWillis_) February 12, 2019
Am I getting this right: Esquire put a random white kid on the cover and wrote a story about him? In the middle of Black History Month?
DIVERSIFY YOUR NEWSROOMS AND PUBLICATIONS.
— Imani Gandy (@AngryBlackLady) February 12, 2019
Many other Twitter users, however, were equally fired up about the left’s outrage over the Esquire cover.
Oh the intolerance on display by the self appointed tolerant crowd is comical. Thanks for the laugh. ??
— John schubert (@johnschubert2) February 12, 2019
Maybe instead of complaining about something that should have no impact on your life whatsoever, you could walk right past it and not let it bother your insufferable, hypersensitive self!
— insert name here (@Runner5_H1gh) February 12, 2019
Esquire is being attacked for putting a white male on the cover. Journalists are actually criticizing Esquire as if they’ve done something immoral. This isn’t about “representation,” this is about asserting control over what the media is or is not allowed to cover. #Resist #1A https://t.co/Jzue2eBhnO
— ART TAVANA (@arttavana) February 12, 2019
Esquire made a dumb choice putting a white teen on its cover in the middle of Black History Month. I hate it. But at some point weaponized outrage becomes an echo chamber where it energizes like-minded liberals but does nothing to convince conservatives or people in the middle.
— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) February 12, 2019
Imagine being so afraid of white people that you’re afraid of this kid in a magazine
— Sam (@Sam__Flaherty) February 13, 2019
Yesterday it was a t shirt with two words, today it’s a magazine cover, this getting offended by everything is insanity.
— Craig Erskine (@CraigErskine3) February 12, 2019
Esquire is trending which was probably their goal with publishing this asinine cover story anyway.
— Johnetta Elzie (@Nettaaaaaaaa) February 12, 2019
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