Both The Huffington Post and Newsweek are battling backlash for their use of coat-hanger symbols to protest a call for a Constitutional ban on abortions without exceptions for victims of rape and incest. The call for the ban appears in a draft of the GOP’s official 2012 platform, according to CNN.
“We thought it was powerful,” founding editor Roy Sekoff said of the decision to use the stock image. “It’s saying that this is the inevitable consequence of this kind of policy.”
“We knew it went right up to the line of offensiveness,” he added.
Shortly before Sekoff posted the image to the front page, he called Arianna Huffington for the go-ahead. “She immediately got it and loved it and told us to go for it. Two minutes later it was live on the site.”
Not long after, Newsweek posted a screenshot of The Huffington Post‘s front page with the caption, “Whoa there, Huffington Post!” The post attracted more than 700 notes, most of them supportive of HuffPo. Some, including comedian Rob Delaney, interpreted Newsweek‘s caption as critical.
An hour after the initial post, Newsweek changed the cursor image on its Tumblr page to a coat hanger. The reaction was overwhelmingly negative.
“I hope this guy gets fired,” one follower wrote. “Tasteless,” wrote another. “Congratulations: you’ve insulted, offended, and devalued half the human population with your pathetic attempt to be clever,” chimed a third.
The problem, said many, was Newsweek‘s attempt to transform the coat-hanger from a disturbing image (HuffPo‘s use) to a humorous one (Newsweek‘s).
— Rebecca Rosen (@beccarosen) August 21, 2012
Newsweek could not be reached for comment. According to Gawker, Newsweek changed its cursor to show its support for HuffPo‘s use of the coat-hanger symbol.
The glossy has been facing mounting criticism lately, not just for its Tumblr antics but also for its controversial covers and a recently published and widely criticized story on President Obama.
Front-page thumbnail courtesy of Flickr, interchangeable parts