A deputy opinion editor at the liberal HuffPost boasted Wednesday that the site achieved its monthly goal of publishing fewer essays by white writers.
The report by Chloe Angyal, delivered in a series of tweets, sparked social media fury as many perceived the practice to be discriminatory.
“Month two of @HuffPost Opinion is almost done. This month we published: 63% women, inc. trans women; 53% writers of colour,” Angyal wrote.
“Our goals for this month were: less than 50% white authors (check!), Asian representation that matches or exceeds the US population (check!), more trans and non-binary authors (check, but I want to do better).”
But many readers had a different idea: How about focusing on content quality rather than diversity of authorship?
“So... racist and sexist? I'm not understanding why the content of their material isn't the concern,” one Twitter user wrote.
“So content is not a check, who cares if what they write is any good do they check your race and gender boxes?” another asked.
This is not the first time HuffPost editors have come under fire for trying to be perceived as a diverse media company. The site’s then-executive editor Liz Heron posted in 2016 a now-infamous photo of the site's editors meeting.
“Notice anything about this @HuffingtonPost editors meeting?” she wrote, prompting complaints that the all-female editors meeting was as lacking in diversity as an all-male meeting.
Other social media users have also pointed that it is “patronizing” to favor certain writers just because of their race or gender identity.
“They must be so thrilled to be included, knowing they were chosen for their identities, not the quality of their work. Not patronizing at all,” wrote a Twitter user named Sarah.
"They must be so thrilled to be included, knowing they were chosen for their identities, not the quality of their work. Not patronizing at all."
“I could not care less who wrote an article, I just want a well-written, unbiased, cohesive article and I’d rather be hired based off quality,” seconded another.
In addition to her duties at HuffPost, Angyal claims to be a Facilitator and Senior Fellowship Leader at the OpEd Project, which aims to empower “a wave of new voices to join the important public conversations of our age,” with particular focus on women.
But unlike Angyal in her HuffPost role, the group eschews quotas, saying its vision “is also for a truly merit-based public debate” that does not demand editors to meet quotas such as gender “at the expense of publishing the best op-eds.”
“The OpEd Project presumes we are all equally smart, talented and valuable – and will be equally represented in public debate if given the opportunity,” claims the group.