News of actor Paul Walker’s death was met with a wave of shock and disbelief on social media, but for Jezebel news editor Erin Gloria Ryan, it was an opportunity to have a hot-button political discussion.
After posting a series of snarky tweets on the “Fast and Furious” actor’s death, including one that read in part “millions of significantly less hot people still live,” the Gawker Media employee decided to get political:
“Why couldn’t it be Scott Walker?” Ryan tweeted, drawing a connection between the late actor’s last name and that of the once-embattled Republican governor of Wisconsin.
The joke drew ire from journalists and readers alike:
Between her stance on selfies and that flippant remark about Scott Walker, @morninggloria is really making Jezebel look even worse than b4.
— Amy McCarthy (@aemccarthy) December 1, 2013
— Jason Howerton (@jason_howerton) December 1, 2013
— SweetJess MeanGreen (@LadyJess1990) December 1, 2013
— Vern Demerest (@TxAv8r) December 1, 2013
— ★♥ Harriet Baldwin (@HarrietBaldwin) December 1, 2013
Leave it to Jezebel to wish death on someone they disagree with politically in the wake of a tragic event https://t.co/2XOyGHdlTx
— Jason B. Whitman (@JasonBWhitman) December 1, 2013
Ryan defended her statement about 15 minutes later, tweeting, “Wow, conservatives are about as bad at jokes making fun of celebrity worship as they are at governing Wisconsin.”
Ninety minutes later, she removed the controversial tweet and issued a Twitter apology.
“I don’t wish death on anyone,” she wrote. “Joking about that was insensitive and inappropriate.”
Ryan is the author of dozens of Jezebel articles, including “Martha Stewart Can’t Stop Tweeting Really Gross Pictures of Food” and “Smartphones Are Made For Giant Man-Hands”