I was astonished recently to read on /r/The_Donald that Teen Vogue engaged a virulently racist freelance writer, Lara Witt @femmefeministe (archive here). Witt claims that “[…]white people are evil. Whiteness is evil” (archive here). Such statements could be considered criminal in England. Witt also recently launched a veiled attack on members of 4chan coupled with a bizarre demand they hack US and Russian government email accounts. I asked her clients if they agree and invite readers to share their feelings with Witt’s various editors as well as her donations payment handler over at PayPal.
In England, section 19 of the Public Order Act 1986 makes it a criminal offence to publish written material which is “threatening, abusive or insulting” if, “19 (1) (b) having regard to all the circumstances racial hatred is likely to be stirred up thereby”. A casual glance at the replies shows that the insulting remark is in fact stirring up racially motivated hatred. The offence is punishable on conviction upon indictment by imprisonment up to seven years. If Lara Witt lived in England, she could be in serious trouble with the law.
Astonishingly Witt is not some ranting homeless person but according to her Medium profile (archive here) writes for Teen Vogue, Rewire News, The Establishment, WHYY Newsworks, Wear Your Voice Mag, Seven Scribes & “more”. I was able to find a single article by Ms Witt on the Teen Vogue website here (archive here). The article, entitled, “What I Learned from DAPL Protestors as a Woman of Color” extols the evils of “environmental racism”.
Witt’s profile describes her as a “Desi-Kenyan Feminist / Writer” yet she also claims that, “I have dedicated my life to dismantling white supremacy but I don’t weaponize my racial identity to do so” (archive here).
Witt also authored an article (archive here) in which she presumes to lecture the hackers responsible for the so-called “Fappening” (a leak of celebrity female nudes) and demands they turn their skills to left-wing friendly purposes such as releasing Donald Trump’s tax returns (a felony) and shutting down Breitbart news (a felony). She specifically encourages a hack and dox of Steve Bannon and Vladimir Putin. Insofar as she is calling for politically motivated crimes against domestic and foreign officials she is calling for the commission of terrorist cyber-offences.
Witt describes those responsible for the “fappening” – essentially a veiled attack on users of 4chan – in the following terms, “Women ignore them and we dislike them when they meet them”. Then having condemned them she demands they commission felonies and terrorist hacking offences.
Witt’s lack of self awareness or understanding of her own hypocrisy leaves her blind to the fact that, far from reducing or dismantling racism, she is fanning the flames. If ever the far right wanted a poster-woman, Witt is nearly perfect. A singularly charmless and aggressive “social justice warrior” she achieves the rare feat of being almost as loathesome as ex-Gawker writer Sam Biddle. You can virtually feel white supremacism swelling every time she commits pen to paper.
The editor of Teen Vogue is Elaine Welteroth, who can be reached at Elaine_Welteroth@condenast.com. I contacted her to ask if she endorsed Witt’s vile racism and whether her words had been distributed by Teen Vogue in the UK. I also contacted Jodi Jacobson the editor of Rewire (Jodi@rhrealitycheck.org, firstname.lastname@example.org), Nikki Gloudeman co-founder and Editorial Director of “The Establishment” (email@example.com), the President of Whyy.org William Marrazzo (firstname.lastname@example.org) and the editor of “Wear Your Voice Mag” Ravneet Vohra (email@example.com).
I asked each of them whether they agreed with Lara Witt’s words. Not one editor of the 5 I contacted responded defending her (although none condemned her).
For her part, Witt was unrepentant posting my inquiry email in her timeline and later thanking her supporters for PayPal donations. It occurs to me that PayPal terms (archive here) prohibit the promotion of hate speech. Specifically, “Prohibited Activities […] 2. (f) the promotion of hate, violence, racial intolerance […]”.
Concerned members of the public may report breaches of PayPal’s terms, politely, to firstname.lastname@example.org. Lara Witt advertises her PayPal as paypal.me/larawitt and her email as LaraWitt@gmail.com. Those opposed to racism and bigotry may also choose to send polite, respectful feedback to the editors listed above. None of them have objected to publication of their email addresses.
Vile racist bigots like Lara Witt have no place in public life.