Screenshot: YouTube

Does it qualify as a Milkshake Duck if they knew the duck was racist to begin with? What the hell has even happened here?

Today, Atlantic editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg announced that the magazine has fired right-wing extremist Kevin Williamson, a soft-boiled egg coated in pube clippings, only two weeks after it announced the hiring of the former National Review writer. Huffington Post’s Ashley Feinberg has Goldberg’s full statement; here’s my favorite part:

Late yesterday afternoon, information came to our attention that has caused us to reconsider this relationship. Specifically, the subject of one of Kevin’s most controversial tweets was also a centerpiece of a podcast discussion in which Kevin explained his views on the subject of the death penalty and abortion.

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Specifically, this refers to Williamson’s “view,” on “the subject of the death penalty and abortion,” that women who receive abortions should be hanged.

The language he used in this podcast—and in my conversations with him in recent days—made it clear that the original tweet did, in fact, represent his carefully considered views. The tweet was not merely an impulsive, decontextualized, heat-of-the-moment post, as Kevin had explained it. Furthermore, the language used in the podcast was callous and violent. This runs contrary to The Atlantic’s tradition of respectful, well-reasoned debate, and to the values of our workplace.

Oh, well, you see, when I hired Revanchist Manatee over here to express his uniformly atrocious views for publication in my magazine, it’s only because I assumed the vile and inflammatory positions he’s been staking out in public with a straight face for years were just insincere trolling and not what he actually thinks. This is the explanation on offer here, by a person whose job in large part is hiring and editing opinion writers at one of the most prestigious magazines in the world. What’s meant to exonerate the initial decision to bring Williamson to The Atlantic is that Goldberg had not yet learned that this writer of political opinions actually does hold the political opinions he espouses. It was okay when I thought he was going to fill column inches with disingenuous shitposting, but now that I know he’s serious about the stuff he writes and says and has been writing and saying for years and which I hired him to write, well, that changes things. Right? Can you make anything else out of it?

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It would have been better for Goldberg to claim he’d been joking. As sincere and publicly expressed views go, I thought Kevin Williamson would make a good hire for my magazine is no Women who receive abortions should be hanged, but it’s pretty fuckin’ shameful, even if you later change your mind.