“Due to a failure in editing, this post fell short of TheWrap’s standards. It lacked focus and context, and missed the mark in its stated aim: to celebrate the brave young woman whose video of George Floyd’s killing has sparked worldwide outcry and renewed calls to end racial inequality,” the statement read. “We sincerely apologize to our readers for that failure. We defend [author Ross] Johnson’s right to his opinion, and we have no interest in trying to make our shortcomings disappear. So we are leaving the post up on our site, as is.”
The guest blog, written by crisis communications consultant and Wrap contributor Ross Johnson, is titled “Why Darnella Frazier Is the Most Influential Filmmaker of the Century.” The essay, published on June 4, received backlash on social media in the wake of nationwide protests over the death of Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.
The article posits that “not enough respect been paid to Frazier and her achievement, including the incredible craftsmanship she displayed in recording this tragedy for posterity.” It also compares Frazier’s video to the work of several Oscar-winning directors and uses graphic detail in describing Floyd’s death.
“She did it all in one take — the kind of showy cinematographic work that has earned fame for Orson Welles in ‘Touch of Evil,’ Martin Scorsese in ‘Goodfellas’ and Alfonso Cuarón in ‘Children of Men,'” the article says. “What would have happened if Frazier had checked out for a five-second break, especially in the first seven minutes and 40 seconds of her video that caught Chauvin grinding Floyd into unconsciousness before he took his knee off Floyd’s neck?”
The Wrap’s statement says the editing process for guest blogs will be under review.
“Going forward, however, TheWrap is going to review the way we commission, edit and publish our Hollyblog guest blogs. This is a difficult time in the history of the United States, when we are called to listen as well as to speak out,” the statement says. “As journalists, we at TheWrap bear an even greater burden to use our platform to present factual stories that advance our understanding of the world. We will strive to do better in the future.”
The Wrap’s controversy mirrors The New York Time’s widely criticized op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton, which forced the resignation of James Bennet, the opinion page’s editor, who admitted he hadn’t read the essay before it published.