One major newspaper has taken a stand against Washington Post columnist George Will, who last week published a deeply offensive article in which he wrote that alleged sexual assault victims enjoy a "coveted status that confers privileges" on college campuses. In a small but significant victory for feminists and critics of rape culture, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has decided to end its longtime relationship with the columnist.
Though the Post touts him as "the most influential writer in America," "the change has been under consideration for several months," wrote editorial page editor Tony Messenger in a note published on the Post-Dispatch Wednesday evening. Will's June 5 column, which "suggested that sexual assault victims on college campuses enjoy a privileged status ... made the decision easier."
"The column was offensive and inaccurate; we apologize for publishing it," wrote Messenger.
The Dispatch has replaced Will with another Washington Post columnist, St. Louis native Michael Gerson. Gerson, a former speechwriter and top aide to President George W. Bush, has also written for Republican presidential candidates Jack Kemp and Bob Dole. "We believe that Mr. Gerson’s commitment to 'compassionate conservatism' and his roots in St. Louis will better connect with our readers, regardless of their political bent," the note read. "We believe Mr. Gerson’s addition to our op-ed page will be a refreshing and revitalizing change."