Many readers complained over a July 10 headline calling Jaycee Dugard a “sex slave,” Los Angeles Times readers representative Deirdre Edgar wrote.
The story (see here) reported on a recent interview ABC News conducted with Dugard. Dugard was kidnapped when she was 11 years old and held “captive” in a backyard shed for eighteen years.
According to Edgar, “editors who worked on the story…agreed, in hindsight” with readers that a more sensitive and accurate term would fit Dugard’s kidnapping. One reader suggested “kidnap victim” in lieu of “sex slave,” according to Edgar.
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Assistant copy desk chief Jim LaVally reportedly commented that the sex slave label, on reflection, is “loaded with mostly lurid connotations. And it robs the victim of dignity. I think we can find an acceptable alternative.”
Edgar noted that in a later article that week on Dugard the Los Angeles Times simply referred to Dugard by name and without a label.