‘Disgusting Display of Misogyny’: WSJ Faces Backlash for Dr. Jill Biden Op-Ed

Jill Biden, wife of Democratic presidential

UPDATED: The Wall Street Journal is facing backlash to its Dec. 11 op-ed that chided incoming first lady Dr. Jill Biden and suggested she drop the “Dr.” from her title during her time in the White House.

Written by Joseph Epstein — a former lecturer at Northwestern University — the column states that “‘Dr. Jill Biden’ sounds and feels fraudulent, not to say a touch comic,” contending that because Biden has her doctorate in education, not medicine, she should drop the title. The piece also calls Biden a “kiddo,” suggests that someone should only be called “Dr.” if they have delivered a child and undermines the value of her education.

But, many people on Twitter felt differently – and didn’t hold back in expressing their opinions.

Representatives for Wall Street Journal did not respond to Variety‘s request for comment on the growing criticism. But Paul Gigot, the top editor of Journal’s opinion section, defended the op-ed and the choice to focus on Jill Biden as “fair comment.” In an editorial published Sunday with the headline “The Biden Team Strikes Back,” he criticized the tone of the backlash as overblown and related to what he termed identity politics.

“There’s nothing like playing the race or gender card to stifle criticism. It’s the left’s version of Donald Trump’s “enemy of the people” tweets,” Gigot wrote.

Later Sunday night, Biden tweeted what seems to be a response to the op-ed, though it was not stated explicitly. “Together, we will build a world where the accomplishments of our daughters will be celebrated, rather than diminished,” Biden wrote.

Jill Biden’s spokesman, Michael LaRosa, blasted the essay’s sentiments and the Journal’s decision to run it.

Addressing WSJ’s editorial features editor, LaRosa wrote on Twitter: “@jamestaranto, you and the @WSJ should be embarrassed to print the disgusting and sexist attack on @DrBiden running on the @WSJopinion page. If you had any respect for women at all you would remove this repugnant display of chauvinism from your paper and apologize to her.”

Hillary Clinton tweeted a simple yet effective statement: “Her name is Dr. Jill Biden. Get used to it.”

“Will & Grace” actor Debra Messing told the Wall Street Journal that their “hatred for [sic] women is showing,” and called the whole ordeal “a disgusting display of misogyny.”

“Westworld” star Jeffrey Wright also shared his opinion on the piece, tweeting: “Joseph Epstein tries to disparage others as ‘falsely intelligent’ in this masturbatory, sewer-gas piece and then put his name to it. How cool is that?”

Jamaal Bowman, the Democratic Representative-elect for New York’s 16th congressional district and former middle school principal, wrote that “the erasure of Dr. Jill Biden’s expertise is shrouded in both sexism and disrespect for the teaching profession.” “Educators are experts,” he continued. “While we’re at it, it’s [sic] also Dr. Jamaal Bowman.”

Lincoln Project committee member David Weissman said, “Imagine having a platform at the @wsj with an opportunity to use it for good but instead, you use it to insult our incoming First Lady just because you have a problem with powerful and educated women. By the way #JosephEpstein, she is Dr. Jill Biden to you.”

Read more reactions below.

Cynthia Littleton contributed to this report.