WTF? Mashable Fires a Reporter for Saying #OscarsSoWhite Is Cancelled

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By William Hicks | 2:20 pm, December 6, 2016

Mashable has fired a reporter following an online backlash after he wrote an article this month declaring that #OscarsSoWhite is “canceled” this year due to the high number of people of color slated to be nominated for Oscars.

Last year’s Oscars were mired in controversy due to the fact there were few people of color nominated for major awards. The Twitter hashtag #OscarsSoWhite became a rallying cry for the social media campaign advocating for more diversity.

Mashable’s seemingly uncontroversial article by film reporter Jeff Sneider was criticized because perpetually offended people thought the white male journalist was implying that diversity is no longer a problem in Hollywood.

The original article has now been edited to remove references to the idea that #OscarsSoWhite is “canceled” and unfortunately the original copy does not appear on major archive sites.

Now at the top of the article appears an editor’s note.

An initial version of this story suggested that #OscarsSoWhite was “canceled.” This was incorrect and insensitive, and we’ve since clarified: The acting nominees, the central point of contention over the past two years, could be more diverse than ever before. Even so, it does not solve the ongoing problem of diversity in Hollywood, and we regret suggesting otherwise.

Apparently Sneider made what the insufferable pop culture blog Fusion referred to as an “unapologetic Tweet” in response, which may have contributed to his termination. That Tweet too has now been taken down.

The article spawned the hashtag #MashableCancels making fun of the fact that Sneider thought #OscarsSoWhite was his to cancel.

Perhaps his article was a bit tone deaf, especially on a progressive site like Mashable, but it certainly shouldn’t lead to the firing of a reporter.  Mashable has confirmed to Heat Street that it did let Sneider go but would not give specific reasoning aside from being “due to the events surrounding the article.”

Certainly someone must have edited the article before publication and deemed it appropriate to publish, so why is Sneider the fall guy? And why is one slightly “problematic” opinion enough of a big deal for there to be a fall guy at all? They could have just published an article the next day talking about how big of a problem diversity is in Hollywood.

Other journalists are coming to Sneider’s side, calling Mashable’s decision dumb.

This bizarre firing may be a hiccup in Mashable’s bumpy evolution from a tech news and culture site to a destination focused on more lucrative video content. This spring, Mashable laid off a number of respected editors and writers and replaced its editorial leadership with two executives — Greg Gittrich and Jessica Coen — from the struggling news site Vocativ.

Follow me on Twitter @William__Hicks