“I Simply Didn’t Handle The Exchange In The Best Way”: ‘Ebony’ Editor Responds To Twitter “Debacle”

April 1, 2014  |  

Ebony senior editor Jamilah Lemieux has published a lengthy response to the controversy that erupted on Twitter last week between her, the magazine and the GOP.

“When Raffi Williams attempted a debate that I wanted no parts of (not at that moment, at least) by suggesting that I had failed my obligation to the community for rejecting said debate, I became very quickly frustrated and bothered. I simply didn’t handle the exchange in the best way,” Lemieux writes.

Last week, it was announced that Ben Carson would be launching a magazine for black conservatives called The American CurrentSee. Lemieux tweeted that she had no interest in the magazine, to which Raffi Williams, a GOP staffer, said she should “encourage diversity of thought.” That led to a back-and-forth that culminated in Lemieux’s tweet, “I forgot that tweeting something about a Conservative is like leaving a cookie out in a house full of roaches and turning off the light.”

The Twitter discussion ended up on Fox News and prompted Ebony to apologize, saying that it was a “lack of judgment” on her part.

While acknowledging that she could’ve handled the situation differently, Lemieux notes that she was tweeting from her personal account, which says in the bio that the thoughts expressed are hers, not that of the magazine.

“Ironically, at the time of our exchange, Raffi Williams had the disclaimer ‘Tweets do not represent my employer’ in his bio, as did I (albeit worded differently), but he, his employer, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and other members of the Conservative community argued unequivocally that my tweets did represent my employer,” she writes.

Lemieux also notes that she had a fair amount of snark thrown her way.


Still, Lemieux says, there’s a public/private gray area that comes with the social media territory. “This is a dance I will master, post-haste,” she says.

Among her closing comments, she writes, “I am unbowed, I am unbroken…but I will also be far more careful to protect myself and the company I love from those who would use my words to do us harm.”

What are your thoughts on this situation? Do you #StandWithJamilah? Read the whole statement here.

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