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The National Post Unpublished A Margaret Atwood Column Only Hours After It Went Up

"Um, did I just get censored?"

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A political column by Margaret Atwood mysteriously vanished from the National Post website only hours after it was published.

Mark Blinch / Reuters

The Canadian novelist wrote a humorous take on the federal election campaign and Conservative attack ads that mock Liberal leader Justin Trudeau's hair.

It was published just before 2 p.m. EST on Friday, but by late afternoon links to the article redirected to the Post homepage.

Of the three national male leaders, which one travels with a personal grooming assistant – lavishly paid for in whole or in part by you, gentle taxpayer – so that none of his hairs will ever be out of place, supposing they are indeed his and not a wig, as some have supposed? (Hint: Initials are S.H.)


She also suggested the attacks were an effort to distract from the Mike Duffy trial and other issues dogging the prime minister.

"Why is Harper still coyly hiding the two-million-dollar donors to his party leadership race?" Atwood wrote, echoing a February column by NDP candidate Linda McQuaig in NOW Magazine. "Don't we have a right to know who put him in there? Who's he working for, them or us?"

By 4 p.m. the article had mysteriously disappeared from the website, with no explanation from the newspaper.

Canadian Club of Toronto / Via

The National Post's comment editor Andrew Coyne and editor-in-chief Anne Marie Owens did not respond when asked for comment Friday evening. But sources tell BuzzFeed Canada it was people in the "upper floors" who pulled the plug on Atwood's article and that it was being reviewed. They were referring to the Postmedia executive offices, which are located above the third floor newsroom.

(Disclosure: I worked for the Post prior to joining BuzzFeed Canada.)

Atwood seemed to confirm as much on her Twitter account, where she continued to share the archived version of her post.

OK, Deep Throats rumour is that the Hair piece is being "evaluated" by "leadership." @nationalpost @fullcomment

BuzzFeed Canada has asked Atwood for comment and we'll update this post if we hear back.

Postmedia vice-president Gerry Nott told the Toronto Star that Atwood's column had not been properly vetted.

"The column was taken down because the necessary fact checking had not been completed," Nott said. "Senior editorial leadership at Postmedia also had not concluded whether the column was aligned with the values of the National Post and its readers."


At least the episode gave us plenty of cringeworthy hair puns, though.

One thing's abundantly clear with this @MargaretAtwood / @nationalpost censorship debacle: there's gonna be hell toupée

Combing through the article, wondering why it was censored. @MargaretAtwood @nationalpost @fullcomment @CANADALAND

This thing with @MargaretAtwood and @nationalpost seems to be getting hairy. Bah-Dum Tshhh [I'll just show myself out now.]

Because this is the internet, here's @pmharper with @margaretatwood's hair.


Just as mysteriously as it had vanished, the Atwood column reappeared on the National Post website late Friday night with some edits. The passage about donors to Stephen Harper's leadership race is now gone.

You can read the current version here.

Ishmael N. Daro is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto. PGP fingerprint: 5A1D 9099 3497 DA4B

Contact Ishmael N. Daro at

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