Conservatives react with fury after The Atlantic fires columnist for extreme abortion comments

  • The Atlantic fired conservative columnist Kevin Williamson over controversial abortion comments he made.

  • Conservatives reacted with outrage.

Conservatives were furious following The Atlantic's decision to fire conservative columnist Kevin Williamson for comments he made about abortion in 2014.

Williamson was hired just weeks earlier by the publication and came under fire almost immediately for a tweet he posted in which he argued that women should face the death penalty if they had an abortion. Atlantic editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg initially stood by Williamson in the face of backlash from the left, but cut him loose following the revelation of additional comments he made on abortion in a 2014 podcast. In that National Review podcast, Williamson suggested women should face hanging for having an abortion.

That clip was promoted by the liberal watchdog group Media Matters for America.

"And someone challenged me on my views on abortion, saying, 'If you really thought it was a crime you would support things like life in prison, no parole, for treating it as a homicide,'" Williamson said. "And I do support that, in fact, as I wrote, what I had in mind was hanging. My broader point here is, of course, that I am a — as you know I’m kind of squishy on capital punishment in general — but that I'm absolutely willing to see abortion treated like a regular homicide under the criminal code, sure."

Goldberg said in a memo announcing Williamson's firing that he "is a gifted writer" and has been "nothing but professional in all of our interactions," but that Goldberg had "come to the conclusion that The Atlantic is not the best first for his talents."

"Late yesterday afternoon, information came to our attention that has caused us to reconsider this relationship," he wrote. "Specifically, the subject of one of Kevin’s most controversial tweets was also a centerpiece of a podcast discussion in which Kevin explained his views on the subject of the death penalty and abortion."

Prior to the podcast becoming widely shared, Goldberg said Williamson should not be judged solely on one tweet.

Conservatives took to Twitter to express their outrage with The Atlantic's decision to fire Williamson.

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