The Washington Post botched a headline for a story about musician Debbie Harry’s new memoir, Face It.
The original Washington Post headline, also posted on Twitter, read: “Review: In her memoir, Debbie Harry proves she’s more than just a pretty blonde in tight pants.”
iMediaEthics wrote to the Washington Post to ask if it changed the article or only the headline, how long the original headline was published and how many complaints it received. The Post declined to comment beyond its tweet. We’ve contacted Debbie Harry’s publisher to ask if they or she complained.
After readers slammed the headline for being sexist, the Post changed it and admitted erring. See below some tweets critical of the Post.
Neil Gaiman tweeted “Good on them” in response to the Washington Post changing the headline and admitting it “got this one wrong.” Debbie Harry re-tweeted that tweet by Gaiman. Harry also re-tweeted a tweet by Dictionary.com that defined “Icon” as “a person or thing that is revered or idolized” and commented, “See also: Debbie Harry.”
A day and a half after the headline was tweeted, the Post wrote, “We’ve changed the headline. We got this one wrong and we appreciate the feedback.”
The Sept. 27 review reads in part: “Even if Debbie Harry, of the band Blondie, isn’t to your taste — her voice too thin, her sexiness too blatant, her music too smooth — you can’t dismiss certain truths about her.”