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Former Business Insider columnist Daniella Greenbaum. (Facebook)
Former Business Insider columnist Daniella Greenbaum. (Facebook)

'Radical view'

Writer resigns after news website censors her ‘controversial’ opinion column on Scarlett Johansson

By WITW Staff on July 12, 2018

A columnist for Business Insider has abruptly resigned less than a week after the top editor at the website censored a column she wrote about the controversy surrounding Scarlett Johansson depicting a transgender man in her next film. Johansson came under fire from LGBT activists who accused her of “[taking] work away from a trans actor” by agreeing to play the role.

Daniella Greenbaum wrote a column that Business Insider published on July 6 titled “Scarlett Johansson is being unfairly criticized for doing her job after being cast as a transgender man.” In the column, Greenbaum argued Johansson was being attacked merely for doing the job of an actor. “Scarlett Johansson is the latest target of the social-justice warrior mob,” Greenbaum wrote in the piece. “The actress is being chastised for, well, acting.”

The full text of the column was apparently taken down from the site within hours of its publication, CNN reported, but it can still be read in its entirety at the Internet Archive. As CNN pointed out, the article was not only removed, but it prompted Business Insider’s global editor in chief, Nicholas Carlson, explain that Greenbaum’s column “did not meet our editorial standards.” He also issued new guidelines for culturally “sensitive columns, analysis, and opinion pieces.”

Scarlett Johansson faced criticism last year over a character she portrayed in the film ‘Ghost In The Shell’ and has come under fire again for the decision to play a transgender man in the upcoming movie Rub and Tug. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

One aspect of Greenbaum’s column that seemed to have run afoul was her use of the term “social-justice warrior.”

“There should be no partisan name-calling, e.g. ‘social justice warriors,’ ‘libtards,’ or ‘rednecks,'” Carlson told employees, according to CNN. “Opinion and arguments should feel reported and researched, and not like quick reactions.”

But Greenbaum maintained that she stood by the piece, and on Thursday informed Carlson that she is resigning over the scrape. She posted her resignation letter on Twitter.

“Can an actor act? That is the question I wanted to weigh in on when I saw the brouhaha about Scarlett Johansson’s role in the upcoming movie Rub and Tug,” Greenbaum wrote in the letter. “My judgment: Yes. A woman can play a man or a trans man.”

She continued, saying, “Apparently, that radical view — that actors should be free to act — is beyond the pale of acceptable opinion, as just a few hours after it went up, the piece was erased from the site following a campaign against me.”

Greenbaum appears to be referencing not only the public backlash to her piece, some of which is visible on the tweet she posted promoting the now deleted column, and also an internal backlash at the website. According to The Daily Beast, several employees at Business Insider were offended by Greembaum’s column.

In the resignation letter, she added that she was “disheartened” by what unfolded, but not “surprised.”

Greenbaum joined Business Insider in April, CNN reports, and previously she worked as an assistant editor at Commentary, a conservative magazine.

Read the full story at CNN.


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