Business Insider published and then unpublished a column that stood by actress Scarlett Johansson for being cast to play a transgender man in a movie.
“The job of an actor is to represent someone else,” the article read in part, according to the Daily Beast. “Johansson’s identity off the screen is irrelevant to the identities she plays on the screen. That’s what she’s paid for. And if she does her job, she’ll make everyone forget about the controversy in the first place.”
The July 6 opinion piece was headlined, “Scarlett Johansson is being unfairly criticized for doing her job after being cast as a transgender man.” It has been replaced with the following note, “Business Insider removed the column because, upon further review, we decided it did not meet our editorial standards.” According to the Daily Beast, the article was unpublished the day of publication, July 6; the editor’s note was added July 10.
In addition to unpublishing the column, Business Insider created new guidelines for “culturally sensitive topics, such as marginalized communities, race, or LGTBQ+ issues,” CNN reported. Business Insider‘s global editor-in-chief Nicholas Carlson said in a memo cited by CNN that:
“Editors are not being asked to agree with the column. Editors are not responsible for preventing a loud and upset response to the piece from within or without the newsroom. They are responsible for making sure that if a piece causes an uproar, we are comfortable saying it’s a well-argued and thoughtful opinion.”
iMediaEthics has written to Business Insider to ask how long the column was published, how many complaints it received, why exactly it was taken down, and for a copy of the new guidelines.
UPDATE: 7/12/2018 9:04 PM EST Business Insider declined to comment further.
UPDATE: 7/16/2018 The author of the Business Insider column, Daniella Greenbaum, resigned over the unpublishing.