During the RNC, the mother of one of the Benghazi victims, Patricia Smith gave an impassioned speech to a tear filled crowd about her son, and Hillary Clinton’s responsibility for his death.
Smith’s speech was heart wrenching, and garnered quite a bit of attention. One bit of attention in particular, however, was from a certain GQ writer named “Bethlehem Shoal,” also known by his real name, Nathaniel Friedman.
Friedman’s response to Smith’s speech was nothing short of evil.
It’s hard to generate a level headed response to this kind of disgusting behavior from a grown man. Patricia Smith is obviously distraught, and who could blame her? She had live through her son dying needlessly, as officials like Clinton sat back and allowed it to happen. She is emotionally destroyed, and on top of that, completely in the dark as to why it is her son had to die.
So Friedman’s response, that he doesn’t care that her son died, and that she should be beaten to death for feeling like she does, is more than vile. This is the kind of disgusting behavior that should make it nearly impossible for Friedman to ever find an outlet that will hire him again.
Friedman proceeded to write an explanation/apology from Medium.
Why did I do it? It certainly wasn’t intended as a literal threat on a woman’s life. If anything, it was an extremely ill-advised attempt at satirizing the overall climate of the RNC. But with that kind of hateful language, an explanation just turns into rationalization.
Under no circumstances is it okay to invoke violence against women. As outraged as I was by parts of Pat Smith’s speech, to use this kind of language as a means of expressing that feeling was completely out of bounds. I also completely understand how, regardless of my intent, it was extremely triggering for a lot of people. And for that I am genuinely sorry.
While the climate at the RNC is nothing short of a garbage fire, the weak attempt at passing off your moment of honesty as “satire” just makes it all the worse. As he said himself, it’s just rationalizing a very irrational response to a mother’s very real grief.
If you really want to be more than just outraged about this kind of indefensible language, then I encourage you to write the editor in chief of GQ, and let him know just how you feel. You can follow the link to do that here.