The editor of The Atlantic magazine faced an outcry on Friday, accused of sexism and racism, after seeming to suggest in an interview that few women are capable of writing long-form journalism.
“It’s really, really hard to write a 10,000-word cover story. There are not a lot of journalists in America who can do it. The journalists in America who do it are almost exclusively white males,” Jeffrey Goldberg said in an interview with Harvard University’s Nieman Journalism Lab published on Thursday.
Goldberg, a prominent magazine writer and columnist who became editor of The Atlantic in 2016, made the comments as part of a lengthy interview about the role of women at the magazine.
Goldberg’s statements were met with outrage, with commenters online calling him “toxic,” “racist,” and “sexist.”
“The top editor of a major publication should not express such a sexist and racially insensitive view,” the National Association of Black Journalists said in a statement.
Goldberg later apologized, saying on Twitter that he was “trying to explain (and obviously failed to explain) that white males dominate cover-story writing because they’ve had all the opportunities.”
“We’re trying to change that,” he added.
The magazine’s executive editor Adrienne LaFrance, who also participated in the interview, came to Goldberg’s defense.
“Journalists who are picked to write cover stories in national magazines are disproportionately white men,” she wrote on Twitter.
“We know there are numerous talented women out there who could write our most ambitious stories. Many in our newsroom already are. This is exactly what we’re working on,” she said.
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