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.

2. She tweets off the cuff.

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.”

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)

I love a man who can pay for my dinner, hold the door for me, erase my tweets. #Submissive. # @SStossel

— Caitlin Flanagan (@CaitlinAtlantic)

“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.”

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)

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)

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)

I'd love to see myself as the Patrick Henry of the situation, but it was a dick joke!

— Caitlin Flanagan (@CaitlinAtlantic)

No. This magazine published Letter From Birmingham Jail. The people who run it know the difference between important speech and nonsense.

— Caitlin Flanagan (@CaitlinAtlantic)

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)

I feel like Duke porn star. Can I have 2 identities? High brow writer AND crass jester? Apparently not.

— Caitlin Flanagan (@CaitlinAtlantic)

I have this in common with Duke porn star: respect for the men who correct, discipline me.

— Caitlin Flanagan (@CaitlinAtlantic)

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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