Letter from the editor: Regarding Saturday’s tweet

Opinion by Erin Woo
April 5, 2021, 11:13 p.m.

On Saturday, the Twitter account for The Occasionally, The Daily’s humor section, put out a tweet that linked the ASSU executive race to the movie Godzilla vs. Kong. 

The tweet alluded to a Fountain Hopper report about the ASSU executive race. It responded to a separate tweet about the movie by presenting a conflict reported in the FoHo between two candidates, both of whom are Black, as a conflict between Kong and Godzilla.

We published this tweet thoughtlessly, and without consideration of its racist implications. I deeply apologize for the racist imagery that the tweet put forward, particularly given the anti-Black history of the King Kong figure as a hypersexualized caricature of Black men. I am so sorry for the harm it has caused the Black community and the students referenced in the tweet. I also apologize that it took students from the Black community to raise concerns before The Daily took action on the tweet, and that our initial response to the community member who flagged the tweet was hasty and insensitive.

As editor-in-chief, I take full responsibility for this. I also want to make clear that while the tweet was published on the humor section’s platform, it was not written by humor writers or editors. 

I have spoken with both students referenced in the tweet, as well as members of our staff, on concrete ways to address what happened. On Saturday night, as a first step, we posted a public apology to the humor section’s Twitter account and apologized individually to the students referenced in the tweet. 

We are planning to hold anti-bias training for the entire editorial staff, to address the ignorance that was at the root of the tweet’s creation. We are also working to draft clearer humor and social media policies, to make explicit that content like this does not belong at The Daily and to improve the conduct with which we interact with the community on all of our social media platforms. We have also suspended the Twitter account the tweet was posted on; we will not bring this account back at least until new policies are in place and all staffers have undergone training.

I know this does not undo the damage done. I want to reiterate how sorry we are, both to the Black community and to the specific students referenced in the tweet. This situation does not reflect the organization we are working to build, and the failures it revealed underscore how far we still have to go. We are thankful to the Black community for holding us accountable for the harm we’ve caused, and we welcome additional input from its members on steps forward.

Contact Erin Woo at eic ‘at’ stanforddaily.com.

Erin Woo '21 is The Daily's Vol. 259 Editor-in-Chief. Born and raised in Atlanta, GA, she is studying communications and creative writing at Stanford. She has also reported for The Mercury News and WNYC. Contact her at eic 'at' stanforddaily.com.

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