USA Today’s race and inclusion editor, Hemal Jhaveri, announced she was fired by the publication on Friday afternoon. Jhaveri said that she was terminated from USA Today and For The Win, a USA Today “sports media property focused exclusively on social news” that started in 2013. Jhaveri claims that she was fired because of a tweet where she assumed that the Boulder shooter was an “angry white man.” The suspect in the Boulder shooting is 21-year-old Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, who is of Syrian descent.
Hours after the tragic massacre of 10 people at the King Scoopers grocery store on Monday in Boulder, Colorado, Jhaveri wrote on Twitter, “It’s always an angry white man, always.” Jhaveri was replying to a tweet from fellow sports editor, Julie DiCaro at Deadspin, who said, “Extremely tired of people’s lives depending on whether a white man with an AR-15 is having a good day or not.”
After the suspected killer was named as identified as Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa on Tuesday, Jhaveri deleted the tweet and apologized. That would not be enough, and USA Today fired Jhaveri.
Jhaveri wrote a post in Medium on Friday, where she blamed her dismissal on “alt-right Twitter profiles,” Sean Hannity, and for “publicly naming whiteness.”
“On Monday night, I sent a tweet responding to the fact that mass shooters are most likely to be white men,” Jhaveri wrote. “It was a dashed off over-generalization, tweeted after pictures of the shooter being taken into custody surfaced online. It was a careless error of judgement, sent at a heated time, that doesn’t represent my commitment to racial equality. I regret sending it. I apologized and deleted the tweet.”
“By Tuesday morning, after the shooter was identified as Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, several high profile alt-right Twitter accounts picked up the tweet as an example of anti-white bias and racism against whites,” Jhaveri wrote, and then included screenshots from six Twitter accounts that questioned why USA Today employed the editor following her tweets. The Twitter accounts that Jhaveri screencapped have rather paltry Twitter follower counts of 61, 293, 13, 78, 40, and 12.
Jhaveri also included a screencap of a tweet from BlazeTV’s Dave Rubin. “The Rubin Report” host wrote on Tuesday, “I’m shocked and appalled that the Race and Inclusion editor at a major newspaper, is, in fact, a racist. (And pronouns in bio, of course.)”
On Friday, Rubin responded to Jhaveri’s Medium post, “The USA Today girl who just got fired is calling me alt right. I’d like to send her my book, which is a defense of classical liberalism, but she blocked me. Journalism 101. ‘Don’t Burn This Book: Thinking for Yourself in an Age of Unreason.'”
USA Today said Jhaveri “had been previously disciplined for a similar situation, but did not offer specifics.” She claimed that a 2017 tweet “called out a reporter’s white privilege,” and in 2018 she “pushed back against a USA TODAY Sports column, because the piece dismissed the human rights violations in Qatar as ‘a little on the repressive side.'”
“My previous tweets were flagged not for inaccuracy or for political bias, but for publicly naming whiteness as a defining problem,” she said. “That is something USA TODAY, and many other newsrooms across the country, can not tolerate.”
“This is not about bias, or keeping personal opinions off of Twitter,” she wrote. “It’s about challenging whiteness and being punished for it.”
She then claimed that as a “BIPOC writer, she “dealt with the constant micro-aggressions and outright racist remarks from the majority white staff” during the eight years she worked at USA Today. The alleged microaggressions including being instructed “not to use language that would alienate white audiences,” being asked where she was “originally from,” and a coworker asked her what it was like to be Indian because his daughter was going to marry an Indian man.
“Sending one wrong tweet that ended up in the hands of Sean Hannity on Fox News though, was enough for this publication to turn tail,” she said of her termination. “Like many places, USA TODAY values ‘equality and inclusion,’ but only as long as it knows its rightful place, which is subservient to white authority.”
Jhaveri made headlines this week with an op-ed that declared Oral Roberts University’s moral standards are “wholly incompatible with the NCAA’s own stated values of equality and inclusion,” especially the conservative Christian school’s “discriminatory and hateful anti-LGBTQ+ policy.”