Stanford paper tweets movie reference deemed racist; will now subject ENTIRE STAFF to ‘anti-bias training’

Ben Zeisloft, Campus Reform

  • The satire section of Stanford University’s student newspaper tweeted controversial commentary on a student government race between two Black students.
  • Though editors were not responsible for the tweet, the entire editorial team will undergo “anti-bias training.”

Stanford University’s student newspaper sent a controversial tweet about two Black students. Now, it is suspending its Twitter account and requiring the entire masthead to take anti-bias training.

As editor in chief of The Stanford Daily Erin Woo explained in a letter, the paper’s humor section, The Stanford Occasionally, sent a tweet linking the student government elections to the movie “Godzilla vs. Kong,” which was at the time a popular recent release.

Woo said the tweet was riffing off an alleged conflict between “two candidates, both of whom are Black, as a conflict between Kong and Godzilla” — a move that was deemed racist due to “the anti-Black history of the King Kong figure as a hyper-sexualized caricature of Black men.”

“I am so sorry for the harm it has caused the Black community and the students referenced in the tweet,” she wrote. “I also apologize that it took students from the Black community to raise concerns before The Daily took action on the tweet, and that our initial response to the community member who flagged the tweet was hasty and insensitive.”

Woo took “full responsibility” for the incident, making it clear that the tweet “was not written by humor writers or editors.” Nevertheless, the “entire editorial team” will undergo “anti-bias training” to “address the ignorance that was at the root of the tweet’s creation.”

In addition to “working to draft clearer humor and social media policies,” The Stanford Daily “suspended the Twitter account the tweet was posted on.” The students “will not bring this account back at least until new policies are in place and all staffers have undergone training.”

Campus Reform asked Woo to clarify why the entire editorial team will undergo anti-bias training if they were not responsible for the incident. Woo declined to provide comment beyond her statement.

The Stanford University College Republicans noticed irony in the situation.

“Last summer, @StanfordDaily told us that they would not publish an op-ed critical of Black Lives Matter because somehow criticizing BLM is ‘anti-blackness,’” they remarked on social media. “Last week, The Stanford Daily published a satirical tweet comparing a black student government official to a gorilla.”

  Follow this author on Twitter: @BenZeisloft

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