Woman feigning outrageTheGloss is a fashion and beauty site. It has been since its inception in 2010. In May of 2012, it was purchased by Alloy Digital (now Defy Media). As Editorial Director of B5Media and now Vice President of Editorial at Defy, I have overseen content on the site for three years. On Tuesday, Amanda Chatel, a former freelance writer of ours, wrote a post for The Atlantic claiming that the words rape and vagina were not permitted on this site. This was news to me.

Amanda did not publish the name of our site, but a simple Google search would lead you here. In her piece, Amanda wrote that she was sent an email on August 22 stating “that the site’s editorial mission”… “apparently didn’t have room for words like ‘sexual assault.'” As far as I can tell, Amanda based her article on an email that was sent on August 20 that included the following:

Please avoid the words slut, rape, abortion, sexual assault, and curse words in post titles. If someone on the team wants to cover a topic like that, we need a very compelling reason for why this should be included on a fashion and beauty site.

This email was sent after the writers had repeatedly been asked to focus on subject matter relevant to TheGloss’ core focus–editorial direction that began before the site was purchased. Before and after the above e-mail was sent, stories about rape, abortion, sluts, and sex workers have appeared on TheGloss when relevant. Here is a smattering of examples to prove that point:

Wildfox CEO Accused Of Horrifying Manipulation Of Underage Model For Sex
A Man Tried To Assault Me Last Night, But Strangers Intervened And Restored My Faith In Humanity
Are These Domestic Violence Ads Too Beautiful?
Harlotry: Why Sex Workers Settle For Horrible Partners
This Blogger’s Eyebrows Are Promiscuous

And, for good measure, this article about vagina cakes at baby showers was the most popular post on our sister site Mommyish last week:
10 Vagina Cakes For Baby Showers That Are Disturbing And Awesome

Before and after TheGloss launched, writers have been subject to the directives of their editors and bosses. This writer did not appreciate the editorial shifts of TheGloss and she left the site, which was her right. Amanda’s best stories were always personal essays. I’m not surprised that she turned her departure into one that she pitched to The Atlantic. But it is disappointing that The Atlantic published it as fact. After I emailed them, they told me that they will publish an addendum to her post.

I contacted The Atlantic before writing this post. I wish that they had given us the same courtesy.

UPDATE (10/24 4:12P): The Atlantic has not yet updated their post with an addendum. Moreover, they haven’t approved my comments linking to this post.

UPDATE II: The Atlantic has now updated their post here.

(Image: Shutterstock)