The Daily Grind Video

Last week, Ebony‘s Senior Digital Editor Jamilah Lemieux was attacked by Right Wing media and the Republican National Committee after she mistook the RNC’s deputy press secretary Raffi Williams for a white man during a Twitter exchange.

Williams, is in fact, black. Acknowledging her mistake, Lemieux tweeted an apology, but was met with claims that she attacked Williams’ race and political views.

The entire exchange can be seen here.

In support of Lemieux, who was demonized by Fox News and targeted with rape and death threats, supporters tweeted their kind words and encouragement using the hashtag #StandWithJamilah. After the RNC demanded an apology from Ebony Magazine, which they received, Twitter users used the hashtag to rally around Lemieux and all women of color who have been silenced by conservative media for their political views.

On Tuesday, Lemieux finally broke her silence in a gracious yet arresting response that focused on the power of Twitter, differing political views, and her gratitude for the support she received in the form of more than 20,000 tweets. You can read her response below:

I love my work. I love having the opportunity to tell diverse Black stories—and stories that impact Black people. I also love the democracy of digital media, an ever-changing space that allows people of all creeds, colors and backgrounds to serve as storytellers, content creators and influencers. As an active Twitter user since 2008, I have been able to share stories with and from people all across the world. I have debated, I have ranted, I have listened—and I have learned. I have also not only developed a loyal and remarkably kind group of e-friends, readers and supporters, but I have connected with people with whom I might not typically befriend or engage, many of whom who have fiercely different perspectives than my own.

There have been nearly 20,000 tweets with the #StandwithJamilah hashtag following the events of last week. I do not have words to express the gratitude I have for the individuals who have raised their voices publicly and privately to ‘stand’ with me after I was attacked, or in Internet parlance, trolled following my exchange with RNC Deputy Press Secretary Raffi Williams—an exchange that was largely reported with gross factual inaccuracies by news outlets both large and small. After thousands of negative Tweets, emails and phone calls to and about both my employer and I—in which I was repeatedly called names ranging from the strange (“socialist,” “Marxist,” “plantation mistress,”) to the downright sexist and racist (“c-nt,” “b-tch,” “n-gger”) and even calls for me to be raped, robbed and beaten—I am sustained by the kind, supportive words I have received from so many people, women and men of all races.

I want to affirm, for any who may doubt, that I have very strong feelings about how my words were twisted to fit the agenda of others. (This is not new territory—ask Shirley Sherrod, Melissa Harris Perry, Anthea Butler…I suppose I should take some pride in now being counted among this principled group.) But, right now, this isn’t about my feelings. Even though so much of this seems like it is about me, Jamilah Lemieux, it most certainly isn’t. This debacle is largely a commentary on the evolving concept of being an employed individual on social media—and the ever-shifting line between public and private. It highlights the importance of employees being mindful of such at all times, whether that feels “fair” or not. This is not about the First Amendment, this is about corporate ethics and the challenges that face those of us who represent major media brands.

In theory, I should be able to say whatever I want on my personal social media accounts and everyone should understand and respect that my words are not the words of Johnson Publishing Company, nor EBONY. That is not the world we live in. That is not reality. And while a quip about a TV show or anecdote about a date may go by without much controversy, “snarking” those who don’t share my political views left me open to attack. And in an era during which there are people who live for nothing more than the opportunity to tear down a brand or an individual who is, perhaps, more confident or more accomplished than themselves, we all have a responsibility to protect ourselves and our careers from a useless war.

To read the rest of Lemieux’s response, click here.