Emily Wilder, a 2020 graduate from Stanford University, was fired two weeks after accepting a position at the Associated Press due to her pro-Palestine activism while in college. Right-wing media called attention to Emily Wilder’s social media comments regarding the Israel-Palestine situation, leading the AP to let go of their brand-new hire.
The Republican club from Stanford first highlighted Emily Wilder’s activism before it became a national news story. They started a witch-hunt against Wilder, posting screenshots of her old tweets alongside her job announcement.
Sheldon Adelson, who Wilder referred to as a “naked mole rat,” is a well-known Jewish billionaire, Republican mega-donor, and avid defender of Israel. Emily Wilder, also Jewish, responded to the Tweet by saying, “would not have used such language today.” However, she points out that “every journalist has opinions” that are not relevant to “fact-based reporting.”
When Wilder’s story first broke, her editor assured Wilder that she would not “get in any trouble because everyone had opinions in college,” but that promise was soon broken as the week progressed. As Emily Wilder received what she called an “onslaught of absolutely vile messages,” the story picked up steam.
The conservative Washington Free Beacon published a piece questioning the AP’s supposed bias. They wrote, “The hire could fuel concerns about the AP’s objectivity amid revelations that the news outlet shared an office building with Hamas military intelligence in Gaza.” Fox News and The Federalist were quick to join in, and by Thursday Emily was fired.
“They told me that I violated their social media policy and would be terminated immediately, but they never said which tweet or post violated the policy,” she said. “I asked them, ‘Please tell me what violated the policy,’ and they said, ‘No.'”
Journalists have rallied behind Emily Wilder, disagreeing with the decision to fault her for past activism. A reporter from a paper she worked for previously, Rebekah Sanders, said: “I stand with Emily. Her reporting at our newspaper was excellent. Reverse your decision NOW.” More prominent journalists including Ben Collins, Hunter Walker, and Amanda Becker have all called out the Associated Press for a wrongful fire.
When asked if she believed her firing was a result of cancel culture, Emily Wilder said it was. “There’s no question I was just canceled,” Wilder told SFGATE in an interview. “This is exactly the issue with the rhetoric around ‘cancel culture.’ To Republicans, cancel culture is usually seen as teens or young people online advocating that people be held accountable over accusations of racism or whatever it may be, but when it comes down to who actually has to deal with the lifelong ramifications of the selective enforcement of cancel culture — specifically over the issue of Israel and Palestine — it’s always the same side.”
While Republicans believe the AP did the right thing in firing a passionate activist, The News Media Guild is investigating her termination.
“I’d bet a lot of money this person is about to get a much better job,” NBC’s Ben Collins tweeted after hearing about Emily Wilder.
“I love journalism, and part of what I think makes me such a capable, powerful journalist is how much I care about the people I write about, particularly the marginalized,” Emily Wilder said. “That’s why I joined the Associated Press, and they saw me as capable. This is, of course a really hard situation, and I’m not sure what’s going to happen next.”
She added that she does not regret any of her past activism and that she thinks less of the AP after the way they chose to handle the situation. “It’s really unfortunate the Associated Press is abdicating their responsibility to not only me but to all journalists just because a group of college students wanted to engage in a witch hunt.”