Kevin Williamson, a conservative writer who has called for women who have abortions to be hanged, was fired from his job at The Atlantic on Thursday after just three weeks on the job.
Williamson, who previously wrote for the National Review, originally shared his opinion on abortion in a 2014 tweet that Atlantic Editor-in-Chief Jeffrey Goldberg initially defended, saying he didn’t think “taking a person’s worst tweets, or assertions, in isolation is the best journalistic practice.”
But on Wednesday, Media Matters reported that Williamson made the same argument on a podcast that same year, saying that what he “had in mind was hanging” for people who get abortions, though he added that he was “kind of squishy on capital punishment in general.” Still, he said he was “absolutely willing to see abortion treated like regular homicide under the criminal code.”
In a letter to staff on Thursday, Goldberg wrote, “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.”
More from Goldberg’s memo: pic.twitter.com/gnTi9qpDZG
— Michael Calderone (@mlcalderone) April 5, 2018
The letter went on to say, “The tweet was not merely an impulsive, decontextualized, heat-of-the-moment post… 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.”
Goldberg went on to praise Williamson as a “gifted writer” who was “nothing but professional” in all of their interactions, but said he had come to the conclusion that The Atlantic was “not the best fit for his talents” — talents which can be basically summed up as high-level trolling.
In his short time at The Atlantic, Williamson wrote a column arguing that Democrats were an “authoritarian” party, arguing, with no basis, that Democrats want to jail climate change deniers (like Williamson). The column provided just two examples: a four-year-old Gawker post, and an op-ed from Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), which questioned whether fossil fuel companies should be sued. He did not call for jailing anyone.