The Wall Street Journal posted what can only be described as an ill-advised tweet. The story was about clothing rules at Wimbledon and featured a picture of Venus Williams. The tweet read “Something’s not white! At Wimbledon, a player failed his pre-match undergarment check.”
The combination of the photo and text was cringeworthy to say the least, and Twitter quickly and rightfully pounced. The Journal deleted the tweet and issued a quasi-apology.
A tweet promoting our story on Wimbledon’s clothing rules was seen by some as insensitive. This wasn’t our intent. We have deleted the tweet pic.twitter.com/3mi57XvhTX
— Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) July 13, 2017
This is precisely the kind of tone-deaf mistake a company that doesn’t systematically take into account diverse voices would make. As it happens, employees at the Journal are currently fighting to create a more diverse and equitable workplace. The Columbia Journalism Review reported recently that employees sent a letter in March asking for these issues to be pushed—they wanted gender pay equity as well as better representation from people of different races and backgrounds.
While we don’t know all the details surrounding the tweet, maybe at least the public embarrassment will help jump-start the internal diversity push.