Kevin Williamson, a conservative writer who has called for women who have abortions to be hanged, was fired from his job at The Atlantic Thursday. Williamson’s firing comes just three weeks after he was hired and on the heels of sustained criticism.
In response, conservative writers have come to Williamson’s defense — expressing their outrage that someone who wished violent deaths upon a large segment of the female population would have their platform taken away.
“Kevin Williamson’s firing is how you got Trump, as well as the alt-right’s mainstreaming,” wrote Daily Wire editor-in-chief Ben Shapiro in a long Twitter thread.
Kevin Williamson’s firing is how you got Trump, as well as the alt-right’s near-mainstreaming. Here’s why. (/1)
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) April 5, 2018
In his Daily Wire article, Shapiro writes that “the Left shrinks the acceptable down to the opinions located between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.”
Mark Hemingway, senior writer at The Weekly Standard, called Williamson “one of the most talented writers of his generation.”
Kevin Williamson was Never Trump *and* one of the most talented writers of his generation. They still wouldn’t let him work for a a venerable liberal institution. Let that be a lesson.
— Mark Hemingway (@Heminator) April 5, 2018
Noah Rothman, associate editor at Commentary magazine, referred to Williamson’s firing as a kind of “scalping.”
Congrats, everyone. I'm sure your lives are fuller now that you've got that scalp you wanted.
— Noah Rothman (@NoahCRothman) April 5, 2018
Of course, Williamson didn’t die — he lost a job he held for three weeks and will likely find another site on which to publish his writing. Yet the overreactions from many in the conservative media would have you believe otherwise.
By offering a full-throated defense of Williamson, these conservative writers are standing behind someone who openly called for women who received abortions to be hanged — more than once.
Very few even mention the grotesque comments that got Williamson fired in the first place, and if they do, the comments are white-washed. Conservative website The Federalist, for instance, published an article after Williamson’s firing titled, “Kevin Williamson fired from The Atlantic for opposing abortion.”
Williamson didn’t just “oppose abortion.” According to Media Matters For America, in tweets and on a National Review podcast, Williamson said he would like to see capital punishment for women who get abortions.
“And someone challenged me on my views on abortion, saying, ‘If you really thought it was a crime you would support things like life in prison, no parole, for treating it as a homicide.’ And I do support that, in fact, as I wrote, what I had in mind was hanging,” Williamson said on the podcast. “My broader point here is, of course, that I am a — as you know I’m kind of squishy on capital punishment in general — but that I’m absolutely willing to see abortion treated like a regular homicide under the criminal code, sure.”
“I think in some ways it’s worse than your typical murder. I mean, it’s absolutely premeditated,” Williamson added.
Another article published by The Federalist Thursday titled, “Ta-Nehisi Coates and Jessica Valenti prove The Atlantic’s hypocrisy on Kevin Williamson,” says Williamson’s firing “underscores that the Left’s terrible fury over his hiring has far more to do with his position focusing on abortion as the mass taking of human lives and an unwillingness to deny women their share of agency in this morally fraught act.”
Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic’s editor-in-chief, initially defended Williamson’s 2014 tweets when he was hired, writing in a company memo, “I have disagreed with him more than I have agreed with him, but I recognized the power, contrariness, wit, and smart construction of many of his pieces.”
Williamson was ultimately let go by Goldberg after he heard Williamson on the podcast reiterate his dangerous position on 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,” Goldberg wrote in a Thursday memo to staff.