I am happy to able to report that GQ magazine has sent me a letter of apology for its incredibly hurtful, ignorant and insensitive comment in its article about the “Worst Dressed Cities in America”, published last week. The apology reads as follows:
We received your letter and absolutely understand that we have caused you and your loved ones pain. Hurting anyone’s feelings or being disrespectful or cruel was certainly never our intent, but your letter helped us understand how poorly chosen our words were. What we initially posted was insensitive and ill-informed, and as you know we’ve removed the offensive language from the website. We deeply regret our error in judgment. There is no excuse. We are both very sorry.
Sean Fennessey, editor, GQ.com
John B. Thompson, writer, GQ.com
This, in response to the following 2 emails I sent, published below. As you can see, I made it clear that they owe an apology to our entire community and I expect that those have either been delivered or are forthcoming.
On 7/18/11 2:22 PM, “Laura” wrote:
Thank you for changing the wording of your article. However, on behalf of myself, my son, my readers and our community, I would like to again reiterate that we believe we are entitled to an apology. I await your prompt reply.
Sent: Friday, July 15, 2011 4:40 PM
Subject: John B. Thompson’s article
I am writing with regard to the following article, and most specifically the following sentence therein:
“…but due to so much local in-breeding, Boston suffers from a kind of Style Down Syndrome, where a little extra ends up ruining everything.”
I take great exception to Mr. Thompson finding Down syndrome something to joke about and in such a derogatory manner. My wonderful son has “a little extra” and it most certainly did not “[ruin] everything – – far from it.
This statement by Mr. Thompson could not have been more hurtful to myself and the many, many families of those with Down syndrome and those individuals with Down syndrome who, I assure you, read and understood it. Nothing short of a public apology by your magazine and Mr. Thompson will begin to alleviate the hurt and pain such a statement has caused our community.
I am a strong advocate for eliminating the use of the “R” word. And this statement illustrates that the word itself is not the only problem. It is a mindset that society has which tells them that it is OK to use the intellectually disabled as a source of humor. I invite you and Mr. Thompson to take a look at the Special Olympics End the Word site and you may gain some perspective as to why this is absolutely unacceptable. Did I read that right?
Thank you in advance for your anticipated understanding and response.
I, for one, am thankful for the apology and while no doubt, it was likely motivated in no small part by commercial interests, I would like to believe that this magazine and its owners and employees have perhaps learned something about humility, humanity and the importance of treating people with dignity.