An article published by Richmond’s RVA magazine rated different kinds of Ugg boots on a “Scale of Whoredom.” Although the publisher put a disclaimer at the bottom of the op-ed stating that it was “presented for humorous purposes,” plenty of folks didn’t find it funny. (Perhaps they failed to find humor in sentences like this one, which referred to a fur-trimmed Ugg boot: “Taking into account the fur length [on this boot] alone, you already know this girl takes off her clothes for money. It’s the only thing to distract you from the fake tits.”)
RVA’s publisher, R. Anthony Harris, removed the article after the initial backlash, but you can still read the whole thing here; Harris also issued a statement to Jezebel about why he took it down (and why he published it in the first place).
As the publisher, sometimes you put it out and hope it has the right tone and catches readers in the “right” way. Obviously, that wasn’t the case with this article and our disclaimer on at the bottom did nothing to protect ourselves from the backlash.
Why we took it down? The article created a lot of debate online and brought up some strong points to consider about our role in letting it be published and the validity of the writer’s point of the article. Was it just plain hateful or a funny observation made in a blunt way? Was it insensitive and did it need to be that way for his point to be valid? Why this much interest in an article making fun of Ugg Boots and the people associated with them? We run dozens of articles every week promoting the good things of our city and then this one article about making fun of one the most superficial aspects of our culture caught fire and caused this much discussion. Too bad some of this firestorm couldn’t cross over to supporting local music and art.
He added that he’ll talk to the article’s writer, Britt Sebastian, about “ton[ing] down his rhetoric.”