Inquirer Sparks Outrage With “Sexy” Melania Trump Article

“We didn't objectify Melania,” says one staffer at the paper. “She did that to herself when she posed naked for a magazine.”

A screenshot of the Inquirer's Sunday night tweet about Melania Trump.

A screenshot of the Inquirer’s Sunday night tweet about Melania Trump.

On Sunday evening, as tens of thousands of Philadelphia women were just starting to recover from Saturday marches of solidarity against Donald Trump, the Inquirer unleashed a tweet promoting an article all about the appearance of Melania Trump. “Is @FLOTUS Trump the first sexy first lady?” the Inquirer asked in the tweet. Well, Twitter sure did respond.

Here are just a handful of the tweets sent out by media types as well as prominent feminist writer Jessica Valenti. And actress (and Philly native) Holly Robinson Peete even jumped into the fray.

Longtime Inquirer fashion writer Elizabeth Wellington spent most of the last decade writing about Michelle Obama‘s look and fashion, so it would only make sense that she’d now do the same for the new First Lady. But without that context and with a tweet like that (and an original headline that read “Melania Trump: The First Sexy First Lady?”), the outrage is no surprise.

Soon after Twitter went crazy, someone at the paper changed the headline to “Melania Trump Is Clearly Embracing Her Sexy As First Lady.” And eventually, the headline became what it is now: “Melania Trump Brings Sultry Elegance to the White House.”

And via the Twitter account, the paper said it was sorry:

Inquirer deputy managing editor Tom McNamara also added the following note to the story:

“We’ve heard from many readers about this column, the original headline that topped it, our prominent positioning of the story online and its publication during the same weekend as the Women’s March,” he wrote. “The column was an assessment of Melania Trump’s clothing choices during the inaugural ceremonies – not her role as first lady — as fashion journalism is the art of describing what people wear, why they wear it, and what message their choices communicate. Ms. Wellington has for the last eight years reported on Michelle Obama’s fashion choices as well. But we understand that many readers feel our handling of this subject missed the mark. We can do better.”

The problematic tweet was deleted from the newspaper’s Twitter account, but you can still see the original headline on Wellington’s account and over on the Daily News feed, where one reader referred to it as “sexist stupidity.”

Wellington didn’t reply to our request for comment, but one of her female colleagues at the newspaper doesn’t see what all the fuss is about.

“We didn’t objectify Melania,” says the colleague. “She did that to herself when she posed naked for a magazine.”

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