Update: 'Apologies From the Free Press' Posted As West Virginia Tweet Follow-Up
January 15th, 2014, 1:00 PM
The Free Press' top executive puts his name on a formal apology for a reporter's personal tweet late Monday that provoked an online firestorm.
The Free Press and Zlati Meyer sincerely apologize for her attempt at humor, which appeared on social media, related to the chemical spill that tainted tap water in West Virginia.
Zlati apologizes personally, and the Free Press apologizes as an organization. We are extremely sorry that this happened.We can empathize with the hardships endured by West Virginians in their water crisis, and both Zlati and the Free Press regret any further distress that her ill-advised remark might have caused.
-- Paul Anger, Editor and Publisher
The furor arose over the tweet shown above. Meyer deleted it within hours and tweeted two apologies, including this:
I realize the people of #WestVirginia have been going through a lot. My joke was in very poor taste. I can't apologize enough.— Zlati Meyer (@Zlatimeyer) January 14, 2014
Meyer, the consumer affairs writer, joined the paper in March 2003 and includes "humorist" and "nonconformist" in her Twitter profile -- which begins by identifying her as a Detroit Free Press staff writer.
She earlier worked for UPI, the Staten Island Advance, the Philadelphia Inquirer and Court TV.
Tuesday morning article:
Detroit Free Press reporter Zlati Meyer learned a tough lesson about joking on Twitter Monday night after she tweeted that West Virginia should deal with its incest problem, Steve Neavling reports on Motor City Muckraker.
“#WestVirginia has its tainted water problem under ctrl. Now, it can work on incest,” she tweeted, referring to a chemical spill that had contaminated tap water for 300,000 residents.
By the time Meyer removed the tweet, it had gone viral. She apologized, twice, but that didn’t quell the onslaught of attacks, name-calling and even death threats.
Neavling defended Meyer, saying he worked with her at the Free Press for six years, "and she was anything but intolerant or bigoted. She’s an enthusiastic and insatiably curious reporter who bursts with compassion and zeal."