The Atlantic Wants Its Writers To Tweet In A “Tasteful” Way

The magazine’s editor told Caitlin Flanagan to delete a dick joke.

1. Atlantic writer Caitlin Flanagan is most recently known for her sprawling cover story about America’s fraternities.

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2. She tweets off the cuff.

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4. On Wednesday night, Flanagan tweeted and deleted the following joke: “I’m having a hard time understanding everything Duke porn star is saying about feminism. Maybe it’s because of that dick in her mouth.”

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6. She then revealed that her editor at The Atlantic, Scott Stossel, was the one who asked her to take down the tweet.

Duke porn star: you have a friend in the Watergate!

— Caitlin Flanagan (@CaitlinAtlantic)
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I love a man who can pay for my dinner, hold the door for me, erase my tweets. #Submissive. # @SStossel

— Caitlin Flanagan (@CaitlinAtlantic)
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“While we have no formal Twitter policy at The Atlantic, we do expect our employees to use the medium in a sensible and tasteful way,” Stossel told BuzzFeed. “Given that The Atlantic is part of Caitlin Flanagan’s Twitter handle and profile, we asked her to delete a tweet that does not conform to The Atlantic’s standards of discourse.”

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10. She didn’t really mind taking down the tweet.

Stand down, my faithful! I support the decision. Free speech protects crass language - but does not impute grace or wit to its user.

— Caitlin Flanagan (@CaitlinAtlantic)
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No - when someone pays you for work, and asks you to do them a favor - you do it. I wasn't untweeting the Gettysburg Address!

— Caitlin Flanagan (@CaitlinAtlantic)
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My freedom of speech is not violated by taking down a crass tweet! Or maybe I have Stockholm syndrome! Didn't feel like a big deal to me.

— Caitlin Flanagan (@CaitlinAtlantic)
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I'd love to see myself as the Patrick Henry of the situation, but it was a dick joke!

— Caitlin Flanagan (@CaitlinAtlantic)
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No. This magazine published Letter From Birmingham Jail. The people who run it know the difference between important speech and nonsense.

— Caitlin Flanagan (@CaitlinAtlantic)
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15. She then joked that the whole incident connected her to the Duke porn star.

In a way, I am like the plucky sex worker of Durham: employer asked me to do something that made me uncomfortable - and I did it! Sexy!

— Caitlin Flanagan (@CaitlinAtlantic)
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I feel like Duke porn star. Can I have 2 identities? High brow writer AND crass jester? Apparently not.

— Caitlin Flanagan (@CaitlinAtlantic)
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I have this in common with Duke porn star: respect for the men who correct, discipline me.

— Caitlin Flanagan (@CaitlinAtlantic)
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Flanagan echoed that sentiment in a statement to BuzzFeed: “I was only asked to take down one tweet. More interesting conversations — and more interesting forms of self-expression — took place on the account because of that mild indignity than the Tweet itself could have ever engendered.”

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