Senior staff members at Associated Press acknowledged that “mistakes” were made in the firing of rookie reporter Emily Wilder, but said that the move was the “right decision”.
22-year-old reporter Emily Wilder was fired on May 19 over her pro-Palestinian tweets for violating the social media policy of the Associated Press. The social media policy states that employees need to refrain from sharing their views on “contentious public issues” and should not take part in “organised action in support of causes or movements”.
Wilder’s tweets about her pro-Palestinian views and political activities from when she was a college student were picked up by publications. Wilder said that she was a victim of a smear campaign by a group that aimed to “expose her history of activism for Palestinian human rights.”
Associated Press managing editor Brian Carovillano said that “mistakes of process, and not of outcome” were made. Carovillano said that firing Wilder was the “right decision”.
Caravillano said that rookie reporter Emily Wilder was given guidance on social media rules upon hiring. He said that “We’re sorry that Emily was targeted by online groups that dredged up her past”. He added that “there was nothing easy about the decision to let her go”.
More than 100 staff members at Associated Press signed an open letter that disapproved of the way the termination of Emily Wilder was handled and demanded clarity about why Wilder was fired.
The letter read that “Wilder was a young journalist, unnecessarily harmed by the AP’s handling and announcement of its firing of her. We need to know that the AP would stand behind and provide resources to journalists who are the subject of smear campaigns and online harassment.”
Associated Press said in a memo to employees that it was planning on updating the social media guidelines. Deputy managing editor Amanda Barrett told employees that Associated Press would “protect you”. Barrett added that they would “have your back when you face threats online”.