US/World News

NJ newspaper fires journalist for anti-Jewish, misogynistic caption

(JNS) A journalist from the Asbury Park Press, a Gannett-owned newspaper in Central N.J., is out of a job with the paper doing damage control after posting a photo caption last weekend that was deemed anti-Jewish and anti-woman. The caption, which read in part “A f**king hot nurse, a total JAP, loads a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine …,” appeared on the paper’s website a week ago as part of a series of photos of how the faith community is helping vaccinate people. The description accompanied a photo of a nurse from the CHEMED health center in Lakewood, N.J., home to a large Orthodox Jewish population. “JAP” stands for “Jewish American princess.”

Paul D’Ambrosio, the newspaper’s executive editor, said on March 22 that the photo ran with “an unapproved and offensive caption. The photo was removed on March 21 as soon as it was brought to our attention. As executive editor of the Asbury Park Press, I apologize deeply to women, the Lakewood Jewish community, all members of the Jewish faith, the Asian American community and all our readers.” 

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy called the caption “completely, utterly unacceptable” and “offensive on so many levels.” Murphy said when he first heard about it, “I think, with all due respect, someone has to pay a price for that. That’s completely incredibly offensive. Even the apology missed the point as I understood the apology.”

Scott Richman, the ADL’s NY/NJ regional director, said “while we appreciate that Asbury Park Press has apologized and changed their procedures to avoid troubling incidents like these in the future, we are concerned that the cause may go beyond procedures and call on [the paper] to perform a full investigation.”

D’Ambrosio posted an updated apology on March 23, trying to explain how the offensive caption came to appear on the website: “I thought someone had hacked our content management system. In reality, it was a reporter who admitted that he did a ‘stupid, stupid thing.’ ”He continued, saying “this was an inexcusable act. The objectification of women and religious insults are intentional actions. The reporter in question is no longer with the company.”

Main Photo: Screenshot of the photo that had an offensive caption that appeared in the “Asbury Park Press,” March 2021 Source: Screenshot. 

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