Editor, writer apologize for column’s content

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Statement from Weekender Editor Sarah Haase regarding a column that previously appeared in this space:

I’d like to apologize to all those who were hurt and offended by a recent Sorry Mom and Dad column that appeared in Weekender after receiving the green light for publication by me.

The piece, which former columnist Justin Adam Brown wrote, does not reflect my personal values or morals. I do not condone Justin’s behavior, however, I was the editor who made the difficult decision to print his column under the belief that Justin had a right to say the things he said.

His column, which he’s written for five years, has always been a platform for him to share stories about his life and experiences. Over the past year and a half that I’ve been his editor, there have been numerous Sorry Mom and Dad column topics that do not fit my values. My job is to set aside my personal values so that it can provide a variety of views.

Printing only things that I agree with, or believe in, is not the basis of true journalism.

That being said, I know now that I made the wrong decision by printing the column — even if it did accurately express Justin’s opinions and actions. Over the past few days, I have had the opportunity to talk with veterans and active-duty military members alike. In each instance, I’ve taken the opportunity to apologize to them.

Now, I’d like to apologize to everyone else who was offended, insulted, angered and outraged by the column.

It was never my intention to upset so many of you — especially around the holiday season. I’d ask that you forgive my lack of good judgment in deciding to publish Justin’s piece.

I hope I can earn back your trust.

Statement from former Weekender columnist Justin Adam Brown:

Last week, I wrote a column about a situation my friends and I experienced at a bar. My recounting of that situation had the unintended consequence of hurting veterans. We never intended for anyone to believe we were veterans. An intoxicated patron at the bar solicited us, and even though we told him we weren’t veterans, we ultimately played along after being harassed and feeling uncomfortable.

For the past five years, my humor column has been a space to poke fun at myself and the situations I get myself into. Sometimes I write about situations you think are funny. Sometimes I write about situations that make you uncomfortable. Recently, I was ignorant as to how insensitive and hurtful my words ended up being, and I’m sincerely sorry for that.

I have an unwavering gratitude and admiration for veterans. I have friends, acquaintances, and family members who have fought and died for our country. I even officiated a same-sex military wedding. To our veterans, and to anyone else I offended, I apologize.

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