LONDON: The Associated Press (AP) has come under criticism for firing news associate Emily Wilder on Thursday for violating the company’s social media policies.
The move drew backlash from journalists after it transpired that Wilder had been targeted by right-wing media outlets for her pro-Palestine activism in college.
Wilder confirmed that she was “terminated for violating the company’s social media policies in their News Values and Principles sometime between my start date on May 3 and yesterday,” adding that the AP did not detail which of her tweets broke its policies.
While the organization usually refrains from commenting on personal matters, A spokesperson for the AP confirmed on Thursday that Wilder was dismissed for violations of AP’s social media policy during her time at AP.
Conservative media outlets published stories this week about Wilder — who had previously worked with the Arizona Republic newspaper after graduating from Stanford University — when the Stanford College Republicans tweeted a thread highlighting her previous activism.
The tweets included screenshots of Wilder’s previous Facebook posts, in which she was critical of Zionists, including American Sheldon Adelson — the late billionaire Donald Trump supporter. The thread went viral.
Fox News referred to Wilder’s hiring as a “second Middle East-related issue” for the AP after the organization’s offices in Gaza were bombed.
Wilder, who is Jewish, tweeted 18 times since she began working at AP.
Her most subjective post was about objectivity, on May 16: “‘Objectivity’ feels fickle when the basic terms we use to report news implicitly stake a claim,” she tweeted, adding: “Using ‘Israel’ but never ‘Palestine,’ or ‘war’ but not ‘siege and occupation’ are political choices – yet media make those exact choices all the time without being flagged as biased.”
Journalists responded to news of Wilder’s firing with outrage and messages of solidarity. “I stand with Emily,” wrote Rebekah Sanders, an Arizona Republic reporter. “Her reporting at our newspaper was excellent. Reverse your decision NOW.”
“I’d bet a lot of money this person is about to get a much better job,” tweeted NBC’s Ben Collins. Others pointed out that the Stanford College Republicans had in the past invited speakers known for their sexist and racist views.