Washington Post staffers blast paper’s report targeting woman over offensive 2018 Halloween costume

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Staffers from The Washington Post were apparently displeased with a report that targeted a woman’s offensive costume that she wore at a colleague’s Halloween party two years ago.Last Thursday, The Post ran a lengthy piece that reported on the party hosted by the paper’s longtime cartoonist Tom Toles — and how, nearly two years later, a guest expressed how she was traumatized by the presence of one of Toles’ friends, who satirically wore blackface as part of her costume, amid the current climate following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody. That woman ultimately was fired from her job as a result of the report’s release.A spokesperson for The Washington Post previously defended the report in a statement to Fox News.”Employees of The Washington Post, including a prominent host, were involved in this incident, which impelled us to tell the story ourselves thoroughly and accurately while allowing all involved to have their say,” the spokesperson told Fox News. “The piece conveys with nuance and sensitivity the complex, emotionally fraught circumstances that unfolded at the party attended by media figures only two years ago where an individual in blackface was not told promptly to leave.”WASHINGTON POST UNDER FIRE FOR ‘CANCELING’ WOMAN OVER OFFENSIVE COSTUME AT STAFFER’S 2018 HALLOWEEN PARTYThe spokesperson continued: “America’s grappling with racism has entered a phase in which people who once felt they should keep quiet are now raising their voices in public. The story is a microcosm of what the country is going through right now.”However, a new report from New York Magazine (NYM) delves into the internal dismay the publishing of the report has caused within the paper and offers a behind-the-scenes look at how Post reporters appeared reluctant to pursue the story.“No one I’ve spoken with at The Post can figure out why we published this story… We blew up this woman’s life for no reason,” an anonymous “prominent reporter” at the paper reportedly told NYM.A “feature writer” similarly told the magazine: “My reaction, like everybody, was, ‘What the hell? Why is this a story?’ My second reaction was, ‘Why is this a 3,000-word feature?'”One Post employee referred to the story as “obviously a mess” and even admitted to NYM of failing to read the entire report before sharing it on Twitter.WASHINGTON POST DEFENDS CRITICIZED REPORT ON WOMAN’S OFFENSIVE HALLOWEEN COSTUME AT STAFFER’S 2018 PARTYNYM noted that the two journalists behind the story, senior editor Marc Fisher and local enterprise reporter Sydney Trent, didn’t share their report on their own Twitter accounts.According to the report, employees of the paper’s Style section, where the piece was published, were “confused and displeased” that the report was placed in their section of the paper despite how Fisher and Trent work elsewhere at The Post.The woman at the center of the controversy told the magazine that she asked Fisher why the story was news, which he reportedly replied: “We have to do it or they will go to another outlet.””They” is an apparent reference to Lexie Gruber and Lyric Prince, the two guests who attended the 2018 Halloween party and had spoken to the newspaper about the trauma they experienced after confronting the woman in blackface.One person who was interviewed by Fisher told NYM, “He expressed his misgivings about the story to me,” and that Fisher left the impression that “he had been told to do the story and that it was not his decision.”Another recalled a similar experience with the reporter: “He told me that from a personal perspective, he didn’t think this story necessarily warranted being out there, and that was his personal opinion,” adding: “He chalked it up to other senior editors at the Post saying it has to go, and he claimed it was out of his hands even though he wrote it.”A Post spokesperson told NYM that The Post’s editors “don’t ‘force’ people to write stories.”COLUMNIST RIPS WASHINGTON POST FOR REPORT ON WOMAN’S OFFENSIVE COSTUME AT STAFFER’S PARTY: IT’S A ‘FARCE’ OR A ‘SCANDAL’NYM’s report also suggests that The Post violated its own editorial standards with its report, noting a policy that states “fairness includes relevance” and a separate policy over not honoring take-down requests of published photos, which it did from its online article after Gruber and Prince, who were photographed by the paper for the piece, reached out to the paper and called for the removal of their image after they reportedly faced threats.A spokesperson for The Washington Post declined to comment.The Post reported that Toles received an email from Gruber, a guest who attended his annual Halloween party nearly two years ago despite never meeting the host, about an incident involving his friend, who wore blackface as part of her costume.”In 2018, I attended a Halloween party at your home,” Gruber wrote to Toles. “I understand that you are not responsible for the behavior of your guests, but at the party, a woman was in blackface. She harassed me and my friend — the only two women of color — and it was clear she made her ‘costume’ with racist intent.”As explained in the report, Toles’ friend dressed up as then-recently ousted NBC host Megyn Kelly, who drew criticism for questioning if wearing blackface on Halloween was OK if the costume was meant out of respect and not out of mockery. However, the friend put on blackface as a satirical jab at Kelly.Gruber, 27, told Toles that, to this day, the incident “weighed heavily on my heart — it was abhorrent and egregious,” particularly after the death of George Floyd, and urged him to identify the woman from his party.NY TIMES PUBLISHER SAYS HE ‘LAMENTS’ OUSTING OF EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR OVER TOM COTTON OP-ED”I wanted to know who this woman is … What impact does she have on society?” Gruber wrote in the email to Toles. “I think this is an important story — that a party full of prominent people in Washington welcomed a person in blackface, danced and drank with her, and watched in silence as she harassed two young women of color.”Gruber said she and her friend Lyric Prince, who are Puerto Rican and African-American, respectively, confronted the woman at the party about the costume.”You understand how offensive that could be to a person of color?” Gruber reportedly told her, as the woman tried to defend the costume.According to The Post’s reporting, “some guests at the party say they wish they had confronted her more aggressively,” while “others say that she has already paid a price and that her embarrassment and regret were evident when she left the party in tears.”Toles initially responded to Gruber by saying he didn’t know who was wearing blackface at his party but did recall telling his friend at the time that her costume was an “ill-considered attempt at satire.”When he told Gruber he wouldn’t identify the friend, Gruber told him: “Hiding her name is a deliberate act of white privilege and cowardice, not friendship.”Prince, 36, told The Post: “I felt very unsafe talking to that person in the first place. I was in an environment that, if it got heated, it would decidedly not be in my best interest.” She also revealed that she sought help from a therapist, saying she felt “threatened and physically and emotionally exposed… I felt powerless in a way that I never want to feel again.”CNN’S CHRIS CUOMO BLASTED FOR DECLARING BROTHER ‘BEST POLITICIAN IN THE COUNTRY’ ON HIS SHOWWitnesses said Gruber “yelled” at the woman after Prince confronted her and they both left the party shortly after.The Post reported that the woman, a vocal critic of President Trump and an advocate for social causes on Facebook, knew she made a “terrible mistake” the moment she arrived at the party. She reportedly “spent many hours in therapy talking about ‘how carelessly I behaved. I’m deeply ashamed.'”Following the party, she emailed Toles and his wife, Gretchen, to apologize.”With this story, they’ll get the public humiliation they want, but it won’t foster any real dialogue between us,” the woman told The Post. “I wish they would talk to me. I made a mistake, and I understand now that when black people make a mistake, they can get killed.”The Post also reported that when the woman informed her employer on Wednesday that a story about the blackface incident was about the be published, she was immediately fired.CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APPNew York Magazine columnist Josh Barro, who co-authored the report about the internal strife at the Post, previously slammed the paper for running the story.”If the WaPo ran this because they thought it was news, that’s a farce,” Barro began a Twitter thread. “But if they ran it as a PR strategy — get ahead of it, frame it so this woman bears the brunt, not our employees — that’s a scandal. Marty Baron and the Post staff owe us an explanation.”He added: “This is damaging to the reputation of the whole industry, a newspaper using its news pages as a strategic tool, violating its own editorial standards, and getting someone fired in the process.”