Magazine had a white man read Black woman's work in a stereotypical accent - admits it was 'racist'
- Publisher at Fireside Fiction, Pablo Defendini, posted a series of tweets this week in which he apologised for hiring a white male narrator to read out the work of Regina Bradley, a Black woman.
- Bradley tweeted a snippet of the audio that showed the narrator's racist, stereotypical accent.
- "WHAT THE HELL IS THIS?!?!" she wrote. "This is what you think I'd sound like? What BLACK WOMEN AND SOUTHERN BLACK FOLKS SOUND LIKE?!?!?!"
- Bradley told Insider she is "angry and tired," and "I will not be silenced."
- In a followup tweet, Defendini said the error was "ridiculously careless, and frankly, racist — it's blackface, it's violent, and it's insulting."
- He also took full responsibility for the decisions that led to the audio being published as it was in his own essay.
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A magazine received widespread criticism this week after its publisher Pablo Defendini said he'd committed an act of "racist aggression" in a series of tweets, and apologized for hiring a white man to read out an essay by Regina Bradley, a Black woman.
The magazine, Fireside Fiction, was started in 2012, and publishes issues monthy and quarterly which contain stories and essays from a wide range of authors. Since 2016, its website states, its goal has been "resisting the global rise of fascism and far-right populism."
Bradley, a professor of English at Kennesaw State University, tweeted out a snippet of the audio on November 24, in which the narrator Kevin Rineer read out her work, describing the accent he used as racist and stereotypical.
"WHAAAAAAAAT THE F--- IS THIS FAKE ASS JAMAICAN ACCENT THO?!?!?!" she said. "I was mad before now I'm PISSED."
In a second tweet she added: "This is what you think I'd sound like? What BLACK WOMEN AND SOUTHERN BLACK FOLKS SOUND LIKE?!?!?!"
In his tweeted apology, Defendini acknowledged that Bradley's writing was about Black musicians, and was edited by a Black man.
"That was ridiculously careless, and frankly, racist," he said. "It's blackface, it's violent, and it's insulting. I apologize."
Defendini said his 'carelessness' that led to the audio essay being published 'resulted in an act of racist aggression'
In further tweets Defendini said the author, editor, and readers all deserved better, so he had unpublished the audio essay.
"My carelessness resulted in an act of racist aggression," he said. "I've taken down the audio, and will have the essay re-recorded by a Black woman, as I should have done from the start."
He then apologized to Bradley, and "to our readers, to the Black community, and especially to Black women," and took full responsibility for the decisions that led to it being published.
Defendini subsequently published his own essay regarding his mistake, reiterating that he was responsible, and that he "didn't listen to it before I posted it." He said he didn't keep "proper tabs" on the process he had set out with the audio essays — hiring one narrator for a whole quarterly issue's worth of essays.
"While it may not have been intentional, intent doesn't matter," he said. "The harm caused is real. And this particular type of harm — in this particular moment in history — is extra f---ed up. All I can do at this point is apologize, try to fix it, ensure it doesn't happen again, and try to make up for it."
Rineer, the narrator, has deactivated his Twitter account. According to the Daily Dot, just a few days earlier he had defended a white influencer who had copied the cosplay of Black makeup artist Dylan Davis.
"I don't understand it myself, since they're cosplaying the same character and doing the character's same pose," he tweeted of the criticicm, according to the publication.
'I will not be silenced'
Bradley tweeted that she had seen the apology, but she didn't care.
"I am angry. Seething from centuries of silenced Black women angry," she said. "The voice I speak with and write with is not my own. To have that taken away is unacceptable. Unforgivable. And to ask me to consider it is equally trifling and unforgivable."
She told Insider she didn't have much else to beyond what she's said on her Twitter, other than to add: "I am angry and I am tired."
"I will not be silenced," she told Insider. "I refuse to soften my anger for it to be manageable for people who have never experienced racism, anti-blackness, or misogyny."
Insider has reached out to Defendini and Rineer for comment.
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