by TERRAPIN MEDIA GROUP
Some University of Maryland students are upset after an email exchange between a student newspaper columnist and a reader turned ugly late Thursday.
Caitlin Doherty, a freshman elementary education major, sent an email to Gonzalo Molinolo, a former Diamondback opinion columnist, after his column, “Rape culture still does not exist: There’s nothing your feminist propaganda can do to change reality,” was published Thursday.
In the op-ed, Molinolo makes reference to the “manosphere” and “feminist propaganda.” Doherty, in her original email, objected to his assertion that “nobody has any duty to believe victims.”
Molinolo’s response, in full, is published below:
“This is coming from someone who is less than appealing and write likes [sic] a five year old. I’m sorry you’re wasting your time in an institution of higher education (big words, make sure to look them up before you cry rape!!) I hope your friends don’t feel stare-raped in the bus[sic]!!”
Five minutes later, Molinolo wrote:
“One last detail, the fact that an overweight ‘empowered woman’ is lecturing me about sex is pretty telling about yourself. Look, I know you surround yourself with imaginary “happy people” (ie, other feminists who see all men as enemies, some consolation) and pretend you will change the world with your bitchy SJW attitude, it’s a good substitute for a life. So while you moan about men not touching with you [sic] a 30 foot pole, fearing they’ll contract eveyy [sic] STD known to man, I’ll be too busy learning as opposed to drinking the cool aid [sic] of losers like you. Keep whining, maybe a cheap brothel will hire you! :)”
Doherty posted Molinolo’s response on Twitter, and it was soon retweeted more than 120 times.
Concerned with the email, Doherty also reached out to The Diamondback’s opinion editor, Patrick An.
Pulsefeedz obtained the email response from An, in which he called Doherty’s email correspondence with Molinolo “pathetic.”
An said he cannot hold writers up to a standard of professionalism when communicating with readers.
“We surely do hope that our writers maintain a [sic] an air of professionalism when speaking with readers, but we cannot hold them up to this standard,” he wrote in the email.
An added that while he is sorry Doherty was hurt by the exchange, he could not reprimand Molinolo because “that would be more unacceptable than the things he said to you.”
An could not be reached for comment before the release of this article. His entire response to Doherty can be found below.
Doherty said while her original email was “immature,” Molinolo was out of line with his reply as a representative of the student paper.
“It’s completely unprofessional, obviously,” she said. “He’s representing The Diamondback, and I don’t think that’s appropriate at all.”
Sharon O’Malley, a media ethics professor at the University of Maryland and a Diamondback alumna, said many professional media outlets would have fired any writer who spoke to a reader in the manner Molinolo did.
She was surprised at The Diamondback’s unwillingness to discipline him, she said.
“For that reader to send this email was bad enough, but for this columnist to have replied the way that he did, it was just plain unprofessional,”she said.
Molinolo said he did not mind his message getting leaked.
“Some of what I said might have been misogynistic and if that’s the case I apologize,” Molinolo said in an email to reporters. “But I am not going to apologize for the fact that I used vitriol with somebody who started first.”
Matt Schnabel, The Diamondback’s newly named editor-in-chief, said Friday Molinolo announced his resignation as a columnist after sending in his column, and that he is no longer employed with them.
Because Molinolo was no longer an employee of the newspaper when the exchange happened, “the matter is closed from an administrative perspective,” he said in a statement.
“The Diamondback expects its readers to be treated with respect, and these emails, though sent by a former employee, run entirely contrary to that vision,” he wrote in the statement. “We will continue to champion civility in discussion of controversial issues with our readers.”
Doherty said she deserves an apology from The Diamondback and wants the newspaper to be held accountable for the email’s content.
“It is Journalism 101 that you don’t attack your reader,” she said.
Jessie Karangu, Ulysses Munoz, Justin Meyer, Kofie Yeboah and Andrew Horn all contributed to this story.