Newsweek apologizes for publishing op-ed on Kamala Harris’ eligibility “We apologize”

Newsweek has apologized for publishing a Op-ed titled “Some Questions for Kamala Harris About Eligibility” by John C. Eastman.

The piece drew a large amount of criticism and was accused of pushing “birther” conspiracy theories that some argued were rooted in racism.

The piece now includes the following “Editor’s note”

Editor’s note, 8/14: This op-ed is being used by some as a tool to perpetuate racism and xenophobia. We apologize. The essay, by John Eastman, was intended to explore a minority legal argument about the definition of who is a “natural-born citizen” in the United States. But to many readers, the essay inevitably conveyed the ugly message that Senator Kamala Harris, a woman of color and the child of immigrants, was somehow not truly American.

The op-ed was never intended to spark or to take part in the racist lie of Birtherism, the conspiracy theory aimed at delegitimizing Barack Obama, but we should have recognized the potential, even probability, that that could happen. Readers hold us accountable for all that we publish, as they should; we hold ourselves accountable, too. We entirely failed to anticipate the ways in which the essay would be interpreted, distorted and weaponized.

As we said in our earlier note, this essay was an attempt to examine a legal argument about the difference between “natural born” and “naturalized,” the latter being ineligible to hold the office of president. In the days since the op-ed was published, we saw that it was being shared in forums and social networks notorious for disinformation, conspiracy theories and racist hatred. All of us at Newsweek are horrified that this op-ed gave rise to a wave of vile Birtherism directed at Senator Harris. Many readers have demanded that we retract the essay, but we believe in being transparent and are therefore allowing it to remain online, with this note attached.

Josh Hammer, Opinion Editor

Nancy Cooper, Global Editor in Chief.

Newsweek offered a link to the opposing argument titled “Yes, Kamala Harris Is Eligible to Be Vice President” by Eugene Volokh.