- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 29, 2014

A top editor at Ebony magazine was forced to apologize after insulting RNC Deputy Press Secretary Raffi Williams and the conservatism of the black men behind The Washington Times’ new digital magazine, American CurrentSee.

In a series of tweets, Jamila Lemieux, senior editor of Ebony.com, told RNC Deputy Press Secretary Raffi Williams that she did not care about his opinions because he was white. She tweeted, “Oh great, here comes a White dude telling me how to do this Black thing.” Mr. Williams is in fact African-American.

The conversation began when Ms. Lemieux and Mr. Williams were both tagged in a tweet promoting Dr. Ben Carson’s new magazine launch with The Washington Times. The new magazine, American CurrentSee, promotes conservative values among the black community.

Ms. Lemieux started the conversation, tweeting, “Yes, Ben Carson is launching a Black conservative magazine with Armstrong Williams. I have drinking games in mind already.”

She later tweeted, “I 100% do not want to know more, I wish I knew less!”

Mr. Williams responded: “Wish you knew less? Hoped you would encourage diversity of thought.”

SEE ALSO: The Times launches new digital magazine: American CurrentSee

Ms. Lemieux then attacked Mr. Williams for being “white.”

“Oh great, here comes a White dude telling me how to do this Black thing. Pass,” she tweeted in response.

Mr. Williams responded, “Who are you referring to as white…Armstrong and Carson are black.”

“YOU,” tweeted Ms. Lemieux. “Now, leave, I have no interest in this conversation.”

She followed up later, saying: “I don’t care what race you are. I don’t know why you GOP folks troll on here.”

When she learned that Mr. Williams is actually black, Ms. Lemieux tweeted her apology, but continued to dismiss his political views. “I was looking at your avi without blowing it up. I apologize for that. However, I care about NOTHING you have to say.”

On Thursday, Ebony issued a formal apology to Mr. Williams and the Black Republican community on its website, noting that the spirit of Ebony’s mission to affirm a sense of “somebodiness” for African Americans, was disregarded by Ms. Lemieux.

“EBONY strongly believes in the marketplace of ideas. As the magazine of record for the African American community, Lemieux’s tweets in question do not represent our journalistic standard, tradition or practice of celebrating diverse Black thought,” the statement reads.

The apology statement also revealed that RNC President Reince Priebus had voiced his concerns over the twitter standoff. In a letter to Ebony, Mr. Priebus suggested that the magazine use “this unfortunate episode as a catalyst for greater understanding between the Republican Party and the black community.”

• Kellan Howell can be reached at khowell@washingtontimes.com.

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