The Huffington Post has retracted a column suggesting white men should not be allowed to vote, claiming the piece’s author “appears not to exist.”
Garland’s profile – which has since been deleted – described her as an “activist and feminist” who is “working on ways to smash the patriarchy.”
Her article suggested denying “toxic white males” the right to vote for 20 to 30 years as a means of “seeing a decline in the influence of reactionary and neo-liberal ideology in the world.”
Describing the article as “extremely sexist and racist,” Breitbart’s Oliver JJ Lane states that it quickly received backlash from several people, including Ben Harris-Quinney, chairman of British conservative think tank The Bow Group.
If this was about any other group it would be the end of @HuffingtonPost
— Ben Harris-Quinney (@B_HQ) April 13, 2017
Subsequently, two days after the Huffington Post article was published, the outlet has retracted it and released a statement.
“Huffington Post SA [South Africa] has removed the blog ‘Could It Be Time To Deny White Men The Franchise?’ published on our site on April 13, 2017,” it reads.
“We have done this because the blog submission from an individual who called herself Shelley Garland, who claimed to be an MA student at UCT, cannot be traced and appears not to exist.”
The statement goes on to declare that the Huffington Post has now “strengthened” its standards related to identification.
HuffPo goes on to state that it will be submitting the problematic article to an ombudsman for analysis of its opinion.
The statement also includes an excerpt from the South Africa Press Code decrying the use of “discrimination and hate speech,” although the Huffington Post’s statement does not explicitly describe the problematic article as such.
“We apologise [sic] for the oversight,” the statement concludes. “We welcome further discussion. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.”
This retraction comes following Huffington Post South Africa’s Editor In Chief Verashni Pillay actually defended the article’s place on the site.
Pillay stated, “we hope, as reads continue to rack up on this blog, that those who are tempted to fire off an angry email to us would first engage with the underlying analysis in Garland’s blog.”
Pillay also declared that “Garland’s underlying analysis about the uneven distribution of wealth and power in the world is pretty standard for feminist theory.”