We Messed Up

Yesterday we published a review of Seth Rogen’s new animated film, Sausage Party. After we received feedback about it from our Trans Editor Mey Rude, the members of the QTPOC Speakeasy and Facebook commenters, we decided to un-publish the piece. Here’s how the review came to be published on Autostraddle, why it was a problematic decision, and what we’re doing to avoid mistakes like this in the future.

How The Review Came to Be Published

Because the time and resources of our small full-time staff are always spread very thin, we rely on freelance pitches to cover things we can’t or won’t experience firsthand. On Saturday we received a pitch from a freelancer who enjoyed Salma Hayek’s portrayal of the animated queer taco in Sausage Party; she found it to be surprisingly nuanced. Hers was the only pitch we received about the film. None of the senior editors saw the film or wanted to. I spent about an hour reading reviews over the weekend. Every review I read that made note of the film’s cultural caricatures also indicated that those caricatures were pushed so far beyond the point of absurdity that they actually became a subversive parody of stereotypes. In interviews, Salma Hayek expressed unbridled enthusiasm about the role.

Variety: “Racial, ethnic, sexual and sociopolitical stereotypes are shamelessly exaggerated and honed to satirical edges.”

New Republic: “It throws joke after joke after joke, a high percentage enough of which land to make it worthwhile, if you can get through all the cheerful offensiveness.”

AV Club: “…keeps returning to the network of religion-like beliefs and ethnic stereotypes that make up this food world [which] … the movie ridicules.”

Screen Rant: “Anyone with even a passing knowledge of world history is sure to appreciate a majority of this content (though, the stereotypes start to become played out after a while).”

MTV: “Sausage Party is ballsy and dumb and brilliant all in one bite. You can gobble it up like empty calories, snickering at satisfying junk like the way Salma Hayek’s lesbian taco shell Teresa leers at literal white bread Brenda’s squeezable behind.”

Chicago Sun-Times: “At times Sausage Party plays into ethnic and gender stereotypes while making points about ethnic and gender stereotypes … Despite all the cursing and envelope-pushing and bat-bleep crazy sexual stuff, Sausage Party isn’t mean-spirited. It’s just stupid. But also pretty smart. And funny as hell.”

HitFix: “Salma Hayek is surprisingly raw as a taco who tries to deny her feelings for Brenda the bun.”

Rolling Stone: “Salma Hayek scores as a bi-curious taco with a thing for Brenda.”

On Monday afternoon, I put the freelancer’s review into wordpress and was getting it ready for publication when I opened up a discussion about it in our senior editors channel in Slack. In the interest of transparency, I am copying and pasting the transcript of that conversation here.

heather: Salma Hayek Is a Surprisingly Endearing Lesbian Taco in “Sausage Party”
how’s that [headline]?
i can’t see how a latina woman voicing a lesbian taco in a seth rogen movie could ever be a good thing, but this review says it is nuanced and sweet
riese: is the reviewer white
heather: i don’t know
a lot of reviewers are talking about how this is a really nuanced allegory about theology and faith? that feels so impossible.
will someone else read the sausage party post? i have made the few edits it needed for readability, but i feel uneasy because i haven’t seen it and it is a latina lesbian taco falling in love with a hot dog bun
Yvonne: lol i can read it
heather: thank you
[….]
Yvonne: i think it’s fine heather! i think i wouldn’t watch the movie because it’s in the category of movies i hate and i hope our readers can make that distinction for themselves. and it’s not like we’re endorsing this movie, just pointing out there’s a lesbian taco
heather: okay!
Yvonne: maybe we should include the trailer in there?
i had to go find it
and judge for myself
and was like oh eww
heather: i hope it’s not transmisogynistic. i went through ten pages of google results and tumblr and didn’t see anything about transphobia or transmisogyny
Yvonne: true
like if i think about it, of course i hate that they resorted to a stereotype, like making salma hayek use her accent for the voice of a taco but like this is seth rogan so my feelings are like :face_with_rolling_eyes:
heather: yeah, that makes sense!
Yvonne: do you think think the last paragraph is like an exaggeration? or does this fall into the thing of someone has an opinion different from yours type of deal?
Heather: i think the second thing. i mean, i don’t think it’s going to actually encourage queer rep in movies aimed at younger people; i don’t think that’s a thing that will happen at all. but i do think she’s right that having an animated lesbian character to sympathize with in a summer blockbuster aimed at the people who will pay money to see this is a big deal.
Yvonne: ok!
heather: also i wonder if the taco is bisexual
i can’t believe i am having this much of a crisis about this!
Yvonne: i get it though!
because sausage party is crass
heather: yes
Yvonne: like people in our community can critique the hell out of it
and pick it apart
heather: yes
Yvonne: because it’s meant for stupid fucking men
heather: yes!
thank you, yes
that is my feelings exactly
Yvonne: and it’s not meant for us
and we don’t need more media like it in this world
because that is the world
Heather: no!
we do not!
i have lost my mind, thanks a lot taco movie
Yvonne: hahahahaha
i had no idea this was a movie!
heather: i wish i didn’t
Yvonne: a summer blockbuster even
heather: i’ll bet it’s so gross
Yvonne: for sure
so lewd
heather: you have to read and write too much about donald trump to be forced to acknowledge that this movie exists!

Why The Review Was Unacceptable

After we published the review, we heard from Latinx readers who believe the portrayal of Salma Hayek’s taco was racist and that it reinforced harmful stereotypes. We heard from readers who were upset that we labeled the taco a lesbian when it seems more likely that she was bisexual. We heard from readers who questioned the consent of the sexual encounter between the taco and the hot dog bun. We heard from readers who found the taco to be a damaging portrayal of a predatory queer woman.

There are several reasons I should have listened to the alarm bells of unease I felt about the Sausage Party review. First and most damning: we allowed a non-Latina writer to cover a story about a caricature of a Latina, and while the review didn’t specifically mention the film’s stereotyping, by praising the film as a positive portrayal of a queer Latina, we allowed a white writer to, in effect, condone that stereotyping. Second, when I was looking for reviews, I trusted the opinion of mainstream newspapers and websites and didn’t specifically seek out reviews written by women of color, generally; or Latina women, specifically. Furthermore, if the review had been written by a staff writer we would’ve talked it out with the writer in Slack if we had concerns and asked them more questions. Since the writer was a freelancer, we chose not to reach out to ask follow up questions over email; instead, we plowed forward for the sake of a time-sensitive article. Third, we did not consult with our full team to see if anyone had heard anything positive or negative about the film’s portrayal of a queer Latina character. And finally, we put the burden on Yvonne of being the conscience and voice for all queer Latina women.

I want to personally apologize to every reader who was hurt by the Sausage Party review. I failed you as a senior editor of this website and I failed you as an ally. I am wholly sorry for the pain and anger I caused you. I offer you no justification. I was blinded by my own whiteness existing inside a system of white supremacy. I must do better. I will do better. I also want to take full responsibility for not working more closely with the freelancer. This was not her fault. This was an editorial failure. I should have asked more critical questions about the film, especially since no one I know had seen it.

A note from Yvonne: I want to apologize to our Latinx readers specifically because I could’ve stopped this from happening, especially when I recognized the red flags and didn’t stop to question them. I knew the taco was a racist caricature but attributed it to a systemic problem in media that wasn’t necessarily our problem. But it became our problem when we used our voice as a queer publication to write a positive review of that racist caricature and perpetuated a racist narrative for the sake of the queer representation in the film. I was wrong for not stopping this immediately, especially when it deeply effects my own people. I’m a Latina and I’m also susceptible to the racist, oppressive system we live in. I know how incredibly challenging it is to find genuine Latinx representations in media and I’m sorry I was a disservice to Latinxs by not demanding better. These aren’t our stories and we deserve better. I’m deeply shamed by this deplorable mistake and I will definitely learn from this and make sure I can provide the best representation for people of color going forward.

What We’re Doing To Stop Mistakes Like This From Happening

Again, in the interest of transparency, I want to pull back the curtain on our editorial process for a moment and talk to you about how we cover TV shows and movies. Like I said, we often rely on freelancers for film and TV shows we don’t have access to. Luckily, I was accepted into the Television Critics Association this year, which has opened up some doors to us as far as TV access. However, we still don’t have the “ins” other publications do when it comes to movies. We have to rely on our staff members paying to see a movie on opening weekend, or freelancers coming to us with pitches about movies they’ve seen. That’s how the Sausage Party review came to be.

I also want to tell you about how we cover things we do have access to. I think Orange Is the New Black is a good jumping off point. For the most recent season of Orange Is the New Black, we passed around a sign-up sheet and offered our staff writers and editors the chance to review individual episodes of the show, and we reached out to a handful of freelancers whose work we love and whose voices we want to amplify to ask them to join us in writing reviews. My main priorities in our OITNB coverage were: 1) Making sure the majority of our reviews were written by women of color. And 2) Making sure any writer who shared an identity with an episode’s feature character had first dibs on writing about that episode. I told all of our writers they needed to be willing to trade or give up their review slots, if necessary, to achieve this goal.

We were three episodes into our review schedule when we found out about OITNB’s season-ending death. At that time, I pulled reviews from two of our white writers and sought Black writers to cover the important episodes. Riese mandated that we read the widely circulated article “Orange Is the New Black is Trauma Porn for White People.” And I personally edited every review so I could make sure the opinions voiced by our white writers were in line with the voices of Black writers I was seeking out every day for their opinions on every episode. I am really proud of the diversity of voices we showcased in our 13-episode review schedule. We published reviews by two trans women of color, four Black writers, one Latinx, one Indian woman, two nonbinary writers, and two bisexual writers. The majority of our reviews were written by people of color.

I mention this only to illustrate the huge difference between the way we write about stories we have access to and stories that we don’t. We need to do even better with shows like Orange Is the New Black. The overwhelming majority of our reviews should be written by women of color. 2016’s coverage was just a stepping stone. I also mention this because while yesterday’s Sausage Party review was unacceptable, it’s not a fully accurate representation of our editorial thought process. We try to find writers with similar identities to minority characters to cover TV shows and movies that focus on those characters — our failure to do so in the case of the Sausage Party piece serves as a reminder to us of why that practice is so important, and why we need to redouble our commitment to it. Our extreme commitment to having topics relating to any marginalized identity — be that trans status, race, religion, physical ability — is why we have such an enormous stable of writers we work with regularly, which’s why we need five full-time Senior Editors to manage, edit and work with those writers. It’s also why there’s been no financial room to promote anybody into a part-time or full-time position for the past two years.

Several weeks ago, Riese combed through our archives and our payroll and created a document called Diversity Initiative, in which she laid out the ways we are succeeding and failing in making sure Autostraddle is a constant source of voices of people of color. The senior editors studied her report and spent several hours on the phone the following day to brainstorm and make an action plan — both as individual editors and as a company — to hire, promote, pay, and publish more writers of color, and to make sure the writers of color who are on our staff have the editorial support they need to create the content they’re passionate about publishing. This is far from the first time we’ve had meetings on this topic and discussed how to do better, but this time we have a serious outline to follow with concrete action steps and we hope the results of that work will be evident soon.

We understand that (like most online media for LGBTQ folks) the majority of our senior staff is white, and that because of that, we make decisions based on our conditioning by white supremacy. Yesterday’s Sausage Party review is a very hurtful example of what happens when our lack of access and that blindness and our weaknesses as editors due to our privilege and systemic racism collide. I take full responsibility for the pain and anger the review caused.

We’re not there yet. In fact, we will never get there because the work will never be done. And we’re going to keep fucking up along our way. But we are constantly working to get better. I will redouble my own efforts to unpack my role in the systemic oppression of people of color and to check the ways in which I benefit from that system. I love you very much, and I want to work with you to make the world better.

As always, we welcome your feedback. We are grateful for the accountability you provide to us, and the ways you push us to be better.


UPDATE: The comments on this post have been closed. We value the feedback from our Autostraddle readers and will continue to work to make this website a safe place for you. Unfortunately, this post has made its way onto some forums and websites notorious for harassing women and the comments have become untenable.


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Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior editor who lives in New York City with her partner, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr.

Heather has written 687 articles for us.

288 Comments

  1. I’m white, and I didn’t see the original article, but as a general note, I am in awe of this apology. It is so transparent and genuine and not blaming the freelancer (I’m also a freelance write who has shouldered the blame for my employer’s decisions before). I know the point of it wasn’t to receive praise, but just, thank you for actually caring about a mistake and handling it so honestly. I wish more publications would do things this way.

    • Same. I’ve read a lot of these lately and I’ve never seen one that even remotely seemed as much to care for and respect their audience and apologise and recognise their privilege.

      • Amazing, she only recognized her “Whiteness” and so called “Privilege” after the fact. WOW! That is incredible. So lets get this straight, on Tuesday she was one of the gang, on Wednesday after a Taco review she’s all “I am so sorry for my white privilege”

        It took a taco for that? In all the years she has been alive, writing multiple stories, no one saw this so-called “White privilege.”

        She gives an honest review of a movie, but the author has to fall on her “Whiteness” sword and beg for forgiveness because, God forbid she found a gay taco funny.

        SMH at the stupidity our society has become. Long live Taco Bell

  2. Picture a Venn diagram. On the left, “Sentences I never expected to read.” On the right, “Sentences you never expected to write.” In the middle: “We heard from readers who questioned the consent of the sexual encounter between the taco and the hot dog bun.”

    I didn’t read the review, I would never see the movie, and I’m sorry you even briefly posted something that condoned a stereotype. But, truly from the bottom of my heart, thank you for “…readers who questioned the consent of the sexual encounter between the taco and the hot dog bun.”

  3. I notice that the original article has been taken down entirely. While I don’t think it should be displayed like other articles (on the front page, search results, or sidebar), I am averse to removing material entirely; it’s unfortunately a tactic too often used to avoid accountability (and that’s obviously the exact opposite of what you’re trying to do!). Is there any way to have the article ignored by WordPress but still allow direct links to work? (If so, there should definitely be a link from there to here in big letters!)

  4. Thank you for this explanation and apology. You all do fantastic work every day, for far too little pay/recognition, and yet you STILL do a better job of admitting and attempting to correct mistakes than just about any outlet with 5x the funding and reach. Kudos.

    And yeah this movie looks absolutely awful.

  5. This is why I love you guys so much. Dignity , strength , character and the will to improve. Stay awesome.
    Heather, Yvonne, you did well.

  6. It doesn’t seem that anyone actually saw the movie… did I miss that part of the article? I saw the movie last weekend and thought it was hilarious. I’m a lesbian, Puerto Rican mutt and saw no issues. I also never got the the impression she was Bi. Seemed like a gay, taco lady to me!

    • The freelance reviewer had seen the movie. (And all I know about her is that she is white.) From what I’m hearing, no one on the Autostraddle editorial staff did though.

    • Your comment highlights another reason that this area is so difficult: what’s harmless fun to some is deeply offensive to others, and there’s no sure-fire way to predict who is going to react how. I admire Heather and Yvonne’s honesty and thoughtfulness, and I also hope that you don’t beat yourselves up much about this gaffe.

    • I saw the movie too, and I’m confused about why people thought the taco was bi and not lesbian. I mean, she could have been either, but I saw no indication that she was attracted to men? Also, how was their sexual encounter non-consensual? It seemed like a totally consensual orgy to me. And the taco didn’t seem “predatory” to me at all. She just seemed really into the bun but not inappropriately crossing any boundaries or anything. Anyways, I’m giving this way more thought than I need to, lol.

  7. I feel awkward chiming in with no previous comments in evidence, because I’m a lurker of the highest degree, and hadn’t until this moment been aware of the review (or the release of the film, or much of anything).

    But I want to commend the editorial staff for this step in favor of transparency and communication and responsibility. Of the few things I feel qualified to hold an opinion on is journalistic and editorial integrity, and I can only hope that Autostraddle sets a new bar for editorial accountability among online piblications and that “change from below” can serve as a means and a method of bringing editorial accountability to the mainstream media.

    Both the formal apology and the efforts to create a greater understanding of the process (whether people agree with it or not is another matter entirely) is one of the most powerful, subversive, and honest actions any person or institution can take in our current political environment.

    I hope that the fruits of collaboration that grow from this seed of honesty are sweet. Good luck.

  8. I am enamored by the transparency in this article. The editorial process is fascinating and this apology effort should be applauded. I do wish that the original review was not taken down altogether; perhaps there could have been a deconstruction of exerts of the review text included in this apology post. I think that could have been hugely educational.

  9. I mean on the one hand it was good to know that even anthropomorphic tacos suffer from bi erasure…
    And it was also really helpful to see which of my friends I need to have another conversation with about why it’s actually not ok for them as white people to tell me as a latinx person what I should find funny.
    Thanks for the apology, I hope the author is doing some introspective looking as well. This is a great example of how to take accountability and it’s a muscle the white queer community doesn’t tend to exercise enough in the greater queer community.

    Still love you, Autostraddle 🙂 <3

  10. “Luckily, I was accepted into the Television Critics Association this year”

    That’s no luck. That’s your hard work and talent!

  11. I agree with Max. Disappearing the article entirely is too close to rewriting history.

    Could you maintain a “deprecated” section, “Autosplatter: Articles We Regret Posting”?
    In this section, you’d list the original title and author and the full “we messed up” message. Finally the words “for transparency, here’s the original article as it ran from [post date] to [takedown date]” would link to the original article.

    • i mean, honestly, that’s sort of cruel to the freelancer? i think the editors took responsibility for their mistake and it’d be shitty of us to accept a piece and then be like “okay, now we’re gonna add a disclaimer to the top about how we shouldn’t have accepted this, and it’ll exist right here with your name on it forever and ever! enjoy the roast!”

      also taking it down meant that the article remained in her possession and she was free to sell it elsewhere, which she seems to have done.

      • Excellent point. I appreciate the way this apology asserted editorial responsibility rather than shifting blame to the freelancer, and more generally pointed out just how very different it is to run a website like this than to run a personal blog or tumblr.

        I also appreciate everything hear as a model of how to react when you make a mistake and how to proactively think about doing better.

      • @Riese, when you say keeping the article up is cruel to the freelancer: The fact that the freelancer sold this article to another site, unchanged, after receiving feedback from POC about how the article was racist is actually really troubling to me.

        Your response still centers the feelings of a white person who was racist. She wrote this article, regardless of the degree of editorial input she received. And profited from it, ignoring POC who spoke up against it, by selling it to AfterEllen. My question would be what the QTPOCs on this site, especially those who are Latinx, want in terms of keeping this article up or leaving it down. Why would the author’s feelings be put before that?

        • mey expressed alarm about it and thought we should take it down. yvonne was talking to the speakeasy about their feelings when yvonne and heather asked me if it was okay to take it down. i said it was fine with me to take it down. this was the overwhelming feedback and response — to take it down, but not to absolve ourselves of accountability for it. i assumed that was a given that everybody already knew from reading the post so i didn’t reiterate that in my response here. instead i brought up what i thought was another point — a new point! — in case that initial point wasn’t enough.

          and yes i understand what you are saying about centering her feelings. maybe “cruel” was the wrong word to use — i wrote that comment last night when i was on my last drag of semi-consciousness. in general, but there are still some rules of editor/writer relationships we have to follow regardless of context. this was our fault, we have to shoulder that blame. we messed up. our staff writers — hell, even us! — have also written things that were problematic, and we have worked with them on those pieces and on those ideas before putting them up on the website. we didn’t do that here. we failed as editors, this is on us, full stop. our editors had a chance to tell her that her perspective was racially problematic and they missed that chance.

          it also took a day for them to write this, and in the meantime the post would’ve been sitting here, continuing to hurt people and spread fucked up ideas.

          the fact that she took the post, unedited, to another site for queer people was definitely not what we expected… it’s something that came 24 hours after we took it down, and wasn’t anything we could’ve anticipated. at that point, we’d heard enough about the movie that we knew nothing about before to know that we didn’t want anything about it on our site, regardless of angle.

        • ok i was thinking about this in the shower and i totally understand why you interpreted my comment how you did, it probably sounded like that was our only reason when in fact that was more of an afterthought. the main issue was people were offended by it and wanted it removed, and wanted us to take responsibility for it. it’s not the first time we’ve taken a post down after thinking better of it, but we realize now that it was a mistake for us to have done that in the past without also taking accountability publicly, which we have done here. usually we catch a bad post and remove it a lot sooner. when people on this comment thread suggested that we should’ve left it up BUT with a disclaimer, i was like, wait but also no… and like i said, thought maybe the first point wasn’t convincing enough, so i mentioned this second point.

          although our freelance contracts do say that we can make edits to the work without approval, any significant edits or major additions do, legally, have to be run by the author before publication. so we would’ve been foregoing that legal obligation if we’d added a disclaimer of this magnitude to her work. “cruel” maybe wasn’t the right word to describe us doing that as it sounds like an emotional issue rather than a legal one. but that was my intent.

        • A writer has the right to her own work, no matter how much we don’t like her.

          Besides: if she sold it to someone else, how the heck are they supposed to post it here?

  12. This is a really quality apology. You messed up, but you’ve owned it and fixed it. It makes me proud to be a supporter.

  13. i didn’t read the review or watch the movie, but i read the OITNB coverage —

    “And I personally edited every review so I could make sure the opinions voiced by our white writers were in line with the voices of Black writers I was seeking out every day for their opinions on every episode” to me sounds a little weird.

    black writers are not a monolith and have had widely varying opinions about the show! i’ve read (from black authors) opinions on how we should never have watched it because it misrepresents prison culture and opinions on how it was always about BLM and opinions about how it was this season in particular that exploited black anguish. reviews from write writers can’t possibly be in line with the voices of every black writer, although reviews from write writers should definitely be scrutinized for racism in an extra way.

    even speaking more generally, this is a hard issue! at what point does “uplifting black voices” turn into “leaving the dirty work of dismantling institutions to marginalized people”?

    • “at what point does “uplifting black voices” turn into “leaving the dirty work of dismantling institutions to marginalized people”?”

      yes, this is something we grapple with all the time! and we don’t know the answers, and i’ve talked about it with many poc who feel differently about it. some feel like white people should not be weighing in on certain race-related issues, others feel like white people should be doing the work, especially when it’s on triggering materials, so poc don’t have to. and there are many instances in which heather or rachel or audrey or maddie or i have taken on those stories rather than leave that work to poc.

      also i think heather knows black writers are not a monolith, but she didn’t want our white writers making arguments that went against our black writers opinions on those issues, because it’s not a white person’s place to make *the* opinion. and not *all* black writers, but the ones who wrote for us here. that’s just about not undermining anybody.

      • i had read “the voices of Black writers I was seeking out every day for their opinions on every episode” as “black authors writing about OITNB” and not “black authors writing about OITNB for autostraddle” which i totally agree is different! i agree it’s not a white person’s place to make *the* opinion on race-related issues

        anyway, haha, i am just another white person who also does not know the answers!

        • Even though you label yourself as “just another white person who also does not know the answers,” your original point was an essential one that needed to be made so don’t be so quick to downplay it 🙂

          Riese, the apology comes off with a white saviour tone and I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but the majority of the uncritical praise it’s receiving in the comments here is from white people. Dividing it into sections with subtitles doesn’t hide the fact that lots of the last section sounds like “feed me ally cookies for how amazingly well (I think) I usually do with with this stuff”

          Anytime that saying sorry is accompanied by an overwhelming amount of context and explanation to the degree that it outweighs the amount of apology, there’s a problem.

  14. This is a good example of how to fess up when you fuck up. Hope more online publications take notice of how transparency after the fact can help mend what gets torn by editorial choices.

    • Like the Daily Beast for example. BTW it’s not a liberal online site. It’s run by a GOP operative John Avlon who is also married to Margaret Hoover.

  15. This post right here is one of the many reasons I love autostraddle and all the amazing people who make it so freaking much! Thank you Heather. <3

  16. I think a few presidential candidates could take inspiration from y’alls level of transparency. Also, loved the look into the editorial process. Details are so fun :]

  17. I really appreciate this apology, and the editorial process you’ve laid out for us transparently (and that you’ve been doing significant work around on without seeking kudos for). It makes a big, positive difference to see myself, my loved ones, and my community represented in your content, as a queer woman of color with a partner who identifies as a trans person of color.

    I’d like to suggest that y’all think about the work you’re doing in terms of equity & inclusion, not a diversity initiative. Diversity is just about variety, which doesn’t take into account power differences or reasons why the status quo is the status quo. Equity and inclusion are about shifting the status quo, changing where power is held, addressing the wrongs of history – which sounds like what y’all are doing very intentionally by lifting up the voices of people of color and folks from other marginalized communities and paying them, which is great! I think it’s helpful to keep that in mind as the ultimate goal 🙂

    • Actually, in an age of journalistic ego which we’ve probably not seen before, this apology, and moreover, the explanation behind the process, is terribly important. AS wants to do things right by the marginalized voices in its community, and one need only look at Olympic coverage to see why this is important.

  18. When I first read the article, I was like “Huh!” because this was the last place I expected to see a positive review of that character. But one of the reasons this is one of the only places I still frequent is that you guys can admit when you’ve made a mistake.

    As for the movie itself, I don’t need to see it to know it is not my cup of tea. The redband trailers were enough for me to loose interest. Then I heard they cast Mexican actress Salma Hayek to play a lesbian Taco and I knew that the humor in this movie was written to appeal to the most juvenile of movie audiences. This will likely be one of those movies that I end up watching a few years from now when I’m bored on a Saturday night, like I do with all Seth Rogen movies.

  19. if this article is meant to be a parody of white apologists, brava. as a latina, i had to google “latinx”, so thanks for that, i learned something new. side note: i enjoyed sausage party.

  20. “Stupid fucking men” you mentioned.

    What if I said the latest Nicholas Sparks or Sex in the CIty movie was for “Stupid fucking women.”

    No need for male bashing.

    • No need for you to express your delicate trampled upon male feelings. Sausage Party and so much other media is, literally, a sausage party, and men dominate everywhere, and they behave irresponsibly with that power. For women to express their anger at this situation is not male bashing, and even if it is, it’s about time there’s a place for it once in a while.

      • This entire article is dedicated to apologizing to people who’s feelings have been trampled on by a previous article whose author did not intend to do so.. yet a direct negative statement is acceptable as long as it’s directed towards males?

        I can understand venting frustration but writing an article to apologize to a group of people and then offend a different group of people in the process seems wrong.

        If this guys feelings are ‘delicate’ because someone makes a direct attack, then I want to know how ‘delicate’ you regard the group of people that got offended from a review when the intention was clearly not there.

        I am assuming you yourself do not take offense when someone basically tells you that your opinion is irrelevant and that you should not express yourself or are you willing to admit to hypocrisy?

          • Hello queer girl,

            Why do you feel the need to ask? If you are insinuating that because I’m a male I should not be in a position to place posts then ask the people in charge to consider adjusting the comment policy to reflect that.

            If I were to answer your question at face value I would say;
            I am here because I have a problem with people singling out groups of people and treating them different from the rest.

            The comment policy clearly states that there is room for respectful debate which is what I’m trying to achieve.

            Nowhere in the comment policy do I read anything that prevents me from being here.

        • Joshua, it’s so funny that this article is all about apologizing for not centering the voices and realities of queer, Latina, women enough and yet here you are, trying to derail the conversation to be about men.

          • Hello Elk,

            I’m sorry you feel that way but that was most certainly not what I was trying to achieve.

            The article is about an apology to people that were and could be offended by content on this website, I feel that I’m not derailing the conversation with my posts which seem to be in line with this topic.

            I understand the assumption that I’m trying to defend men, but that’s not really the case; I have an issue with people treating groups of people with disrespect and especially when they go to great lengths to not do so for other groups of people.

            I’m not trying to detract from the heartfelt apology the author has written nor am I trying to steal the spotlight, I am seeking a respectful debate amidst a sea of posts.

        • Joshua,

          It is not a direct comment you know; it is from a chat session where the people who were discussing were just voicing their comments. It sounded frustrated (or a casual remark) and people do voice frustrations when chatting privately with their colleagues. (I do acknowledge that Yvonne may have a completely different view point herself; I am just saying how it seemed to me). And, using your own identify, stereotyping it and employing it to entertain a privileged community is something a lot of people would be frustrated about. Especially since it is done so frequently.

          And Tom,

          Ever heard the phrase “chick lit”? Or “chick flick”? I am pretty sure main stream media and most men have been for a long time saying “stupid fucking women” in numerous ways. If you say it, you won’t be saying anything new.

          Guys,

          Autostraddle is a place for LGBT women and the content is for them. So, saying your voice is irrelevant or suppressed is being blind to that fact. You are not the star here. We are.

          • Hello Aparna,

            Thank you for your polite response, I appreciate you staying calm
            and trying to address my concerns.

            I understand that the comment in question is from a private chat and that it’s not a statement by the author Heather. I am simply appalled by what I regard as hypocrisy; I see an article written by someone who wants to apologize to people for unintentionally offending them yet an intentional, albeit private, offensive statement to a different group of people is somehow acceptable to leave in there.

            If you treat a group of people differently from other groups of people then you’re either a -ist or a -phobic and I find it hard to make exceptions.

            You are completely right that autostraddle is a place for LGBT women; I do not want people to feel harassed by my posts and if that is deemed impossible purely because of my gender then I’ll leave you be and go away without a fuss.

          • Joshua,

            Why should anyone have to “stay calm” to reply to someone like yourself, who insists that we owe it to you to engage on a site that is centered on queer women? How’s this for calm: get the fuck out of this space and stop expecting women to coddle you when you whine about not getting attention in a space that’s not made for you. Stop being a patronizing asshole and pretending you really give a shit about what any of us have to say. You’re looking for your voice to be seen as a savior for us all. “If only we had thought of the men instead of enjoying this rare fucking space centered on women”, we will say, after reading your brilliant “arguments”.

            Go fuck yourself. No one wants you here. Is that calm enough for you?

        • Hey Josh, you may wanna have a look at my comment to Tom down below to understand what the term “stupid fucking men” refers to. As a straight woman, perhaps it isn’t my right to speak to this, but just because a website is “for” a specific group does not mean that alternative groups aren’t welcome. I believe that marginalized groups need supportive allies from all walks of life, otherwise how can we progress as an inclusive society? The fact that you and Tom ostensibly came here not to troll, but to actually try to learn about perspectives outside of your own is a good thing! But the key to being a good ally to a group you’re not familiar with is first by being a good listener, and learning how not to make things about you. If you feel that something is offensive or aggressive, before commenting, ask yourself, “Okay, why might this author or commenter have said something like that?” Take into consideration the larger cultural/social context that may have led to that particular comment or article, rather than immediately assuming it’s a personal attack. If you’re still bothered by the comment, politely and respectfully ask about it. Do try to keep in mind that spaces for marginalized groups can be a little quick to attack, because their personal identities have been under attack forever. They want to feel safe in the few spaces that cater to them. So again, if someone replies in a way that’s a little abrasive, try to understand where they’re coming from first and take care not to return aggression with aggression. Women, whether gay or straight, tend to be a little cagey when it comes to straight white dudes who come into spaces which cater to them, because we want to feel safe to discuss women’s issues without being attacked. So again, try to understand where we’re coming from first. 🙂

    • I was born straight, white, and male. I can’t help that. I want positive change though, but there’s so much vitriol here, in Milwaukee, and beyond, that it’s hard to help without being attacked.

      By attacking people like me, you’re giving Trump more power. People like me are (irrationally) afraid and turning to a monster.

      Seriously, stop. For everyone’s sake.

    • What up, Tom.

      As a fellow straight white cis person who frequents this site and is a supporter of the LGBTQ community, the best advice I can give you in order to navigate spaces such as these in the future is to just LISTEN. In general, the AS community is not a man-hating bunch. Their mission isn’t to turn everyone against men. “Stupid fucking men” doesn’t refer to all men on an individual level. “Stupid fucking men” refers to a demographic that condones misogynistic, racist, homophobic attitudes in society that are hurtful and damaging towards marginalized groups. Just as “patriarchy” doesn’t equal “all men”, but rather the social systems which grants a very particular group of men (i.e. straight white men) social privileges. There’s nothing you can do to change how you were born, and no one’s asking you to. But be mindful that because of how you look, you are automatically granted privileges that aren’t available to a lot of other people, even if you don’t realize it. The fact that all you zeroed in on in this article was three words, among a much larger discussion about racial issues and racial privilege shows that you need to listen more to what’s going on around you. And that’s totally okay. If you’re sincere in your desires to be an ally and become aware of the issues that are faced by LGBTQ people, or non-white people, that’s rad, and I think that the AS community would welcome you. But that means being able to not take things personally and make them about yourself first and foremost, and lots and lots of listening to other opinions.

      Have a nice day.

    • Wow most of the replies o see here are awful. For the record I am a lesbian libfem. The sexism and entitlement I see in these replies is disheartening. Just because women are marginalized and offensive phrases about us get thrown around does not mean we should do the same. I was surprised no one else commented on that, saying the movie is ‘made for stupid fucking men’ is making stereotypical assumptions about men being stupid and what, women are too delicate and smart for those nasty ‘male’ movies? No wonder so many people hate feminism nowadays. People are so fucking contentious that instead of focusing on being a good person and fighting sexism in all its forms they cheer and out of cups that say male tears. Childish and sad. This is not what feminism is about. This is not what equalities about. This is petty insulting and making a clique out of human rights.

  21. Surely we get that a review of a movie/book/music/TV is ONE persons opinion and we should take it with a grain of salt.
    I personally wouldn’t see this movie…and that’s neither here nor there. But I read reviews of things here all the time that I disagree with…but isn’t that the point? I actually like that.

    For example my crappy review of OITNB’s latest season:
    This show is ridiculous.
    The minute they presented crack to be some kind of true serum is the minute I thought it was the dumbest show on television.

    I never thought oh Autostraddle as a collective group enjoys sausage party

  22. Is it really necessary to self-censor and completely take the article down, though? Why not also post a piece with the opposing viewpoint and allow discussion to happen in the community? You say that some Latinas being ok with the movie doesn’t mean everyone is, which is true, but some Latinas NOT being ok with it also is not representative of the entire community. Maybe it’s a nuanced issue and there were some good things about it and some bad ones – the piece you published was not presented as objective fact, so there’s no need to apologize for it. The queer community often seems to labor under the delusion that we all need to support a monolithic “correct” opinion and censor opposing dialogue.

    As for the taco’s overt/”predatory” sexuality, I thought a common complaint about the mainstream media’s portrayal of lesbians was that they’re always demure (i.e. pecks on the cheek when hetero couples are full-on making out). So now that a character pushes the limit in the other direction, we complain about that? In a movie where everything was extremely sexualized, this wasn’t even something that stood out about the lesbian character in particular.

    On a side note, isn’t it MORE progressive for the taco to be a straight up lesbian rather than bisexual? It seems like queer women characters in those kind of movies are usually bi so the male lead can hook up with them too, so I thought this was fairly progressive.

    • Lesbian couples are often desexualized but there is a profusion of predatory lesbian characters and it is sadly one of the stereotypes (often couples with the murderous predatory lesbian/psychokiller).

    • On a side note, isn’t it MORE progressive for the taco to be a straight up lesbian rather than bisexual? It seems like queer women characters in those kind of movies are usually bi so the male lead can hook up with them too, so I thought this was fairly progressive.

      No, and the idea that lesbian characters are more progressive than bi ones reads as biantagonistic af, to me.

      *is bi*

    • Riese replied to an earlier comment addressing the issue of whether or not to take the article down or leave it up. Riese’s points, as I understood them, were as follows:

      1) The majority of people who were hurt by the article requested that it be removed.

      2) Taking the article down gave the writer the opportunity to receive the criticism, edit appropriately, and take the updated article elsewhere. That the freelancer in question did not take advantage of this opportunity to edit and simply sold the article as-is to afterellen is its own racist can-of-worms.

      Riese, I hope I covered your points properly.

  23. I appreciate how you are modeling some of the complex parts of being a white social justice minded person in a white supremacy: apologizing, acknowledging how we (white ppl) profit from, AND also think within white supremacy. the levels of mistakes. this will help me in the future. also i am also trying to be aware of creating a white space down here in the comments of white SJ praise and shit (this apology is not for me or to me, and if it resonates with QPOC than it can teach me). noting that this apology is a helpful model for others, myself- that seems worth commenting. thanks heather, yvonne, riese, staff.

    • Actually a significant part of this apology is a huge example of what not to do.

      It doesn’t make sense to talk about being overwhelmed, on a deadline, or wtv as context for why something problematic happened. Doing that shows how little regard you have for the impact and importance of such major issues. There’s an organization on facebook called “white nonsense roundup” that works against systemic racism and offers good unlearning resources. It’s by white people for white people so it’s a safe space to go through that tough process with full support while not taking space or emotional labour from poc.

  24. Thank you, Heather. This transparency is very welcome, refreshing, and frankly interesting insight for me! Congratulations on your acceptance into TCA. I wish more critics had your ethics and talent!

  25. This is an amazing apology.

    Also, “We heard from readers who were upset that we labeled the taco a lesbian when it seems more likely that she was bisexual.” is a sentence I never thought I’d read.

    • As a member of the poc community I can tell you that this apology is far from amazing. It will forever be wrong to spend over half of an apology explaining context and making excuses about how you fell victim to “lack of resources” or ” strict publishing deadline.

      There’s no difference between saying “I’m sorry, but (blablabla centering myself)” and saying “blablabla centering myself, but I’m sorry.” Privileged identities need to realize this.

  26. Had you come to knowing about the portrayal differently, would you have preferred to publish a piece that was more critical of the film, or not to publish about it?

  27. Oy, just seeing that the original article on Sausage Party has been republished on afterellen. Interesting move by the author… concerning that when their article got pulled, they just switched locations? Thoughts?

    • Wow!!! I’ve been trying to stop checking out Afterellen for so long because it is so cringe-worthy and so tabloid like (and the only show they recap that i care about is Orphan Black…) but I think this time will be the last time. Good riddance!

    • When a certain person took over as editor in chief I worried about the journalistic integrity of that site and this situation cements my opinion that they shouldn’t be the other go to place for queer women content. They continually make mistakes in their Morning Brew column and I’m sick of it.

  28. Thank you for sharing your thinking and editorial process. Integrity is hard to find on the interwebs and y’all have it in spades. I’m glad you exist.

    p.s.: please never say sausage again.

  29. Yeah I was real suspicious of a movie by Seth Organ with a ‘lesbian taco’. I mean it’d be great if she was a lesbian taco and the rest was nuanced LGBT stuff (because let’s face it, lesbian taco is a hilarious concept!) But I didn’t expect that from a Seth Rogan film for Seth and his dudebros. I expected a taco who’s prima facie interested in dudes, likes one girl for sexy shock value, gets called a lesbian, and then all the dudebros are assured that their entitlement to lesbians is all g because the lesbian taco likes men so all the lesbians like men. Haven’t even watched the movie, but I assume this is the plotline.

  30. I just have to show my appreciation for the swift and transparent response. And clearly no need to keep the post up since Afterellen took care of that for you. Seriously, straight up owning a fuck up is not easy to do, especially on the eternal internet, and I know this is sincere, so thank you all for that.

    Unrelated, I’m now craving tacos. Take from that what you will.

  31. I haven’t seen the movie. Sometimes comedy can be problematic and offensive, but I certainly find it less so than a person who openly calls their partner “slave.” Everyone has a right to their personal decisions and relationship dynamics in a consensual relationship, but I find the public promotion of master/slave verbiage deeply problematic and offensive – especially when it’s not just a thing of the past, women and children are trafficked en masse, every day. But I’m not seeing anything being done about the concerns that have been raised about the “View from the Top” series. When we praise pro-m/s articles but lose our minds about some mildly offensive mainstream comedy movie, I think we’ve jumped the shark.

    • 1. Unless you are Latinx and/or queer, I suggest you step back, shut up, and listen to the voices of those who are directly affected.

      2. As a Dom and a sadist, I would like to thank you for attacking and demonizing me and my community. Autostraddle is one of the few safe spaces I’ve found. Pick up your shit and get the hell out.

  32. Is it weird that I could hear Heather and Yvonne’s voices while reading the IM exchange? …I’ve been binge listening to the A+ podcasts.

  33. Thank you for validating people’s concerns and taking responsibility for your mistake. We all make mistakes and we all need to be held accountable for them. This is how a true apology looks.

    Jesus H Christ this “film” sounds like a trainwreck. My wife feels bad for all those animators who perfected their craft in animation school… Only to have to take a gig creating a a hot dog bun with boobs. I can only imagine the shame…

    • Even worse (speaking from the animation industry), there are tons of accounts from animators who worked on this film reporting that they were treated terribly while on the project, and a vast majority of them weren’t credited at the end of the film.
      That’s a whole other can-of-worms when it comes to problematic things about this movie…

  34. First of all, thank you for this. I appreciate the candor and the explanation of Autostraddle’s attention to whose voices are raised when, particularly when it comes to painful topics and marginalized identities. The question of who gets to/has to speak is not a simple one.

    Secondly, I’ve got to say that when I saw the original review, I kept expecting it to be a spoof article of a commercial, like Kayla’s “6 Signs the Women from the Payless BOGO Commercials Are Lesbians” – because who in their right mind, I thought would make an animated film called Sausage Party featuring a latina lesbian taco? Surely it must be a commercial for processed meat, or…something, right? Wrong. I kept waiting for the punch line, but it never arrived. I thought I was missing something, because it just wasn’t funny, just weird and vaguely gross (rather like sausage, in that regard).

  35. For the record, taking gender or race into account when hiring is a FEDERAL OFFENSE. In admitting that your intention in covering OITNB was to “[make] sure the majority of our reviews were written by women of color,” you confess to a federal crime. Not to mention a moral one.

    • You are incorrect and a jerk about it to boot.

      Affirmative action is not illegal, no matter how much conservatives want it to be. In addition, it is not illegal to take gender or race into account when hiring freelance writers when their gender or race would make them a better candidate for the job.

    • You’re actually allowed to consider an employee’s gender or race when it affects their ability to do their job – for example, Hooters was sued for discrimination for hiring only women as its servers, and though they agreed to create more gender-neutral positions apart from the servers, they successfully argued that it was fine for them to hire only women as servers because it was a “bona fide occupational qualification” – basically, being a Hooters girl isn’t exactly the same as being a server in general, because Hooters stays in business by being a restaurant where cute girls will bring you food and lightly flirt with you, so it can be argued that being a woman is a necessary qualification to do this particular job.

      For another example, it isn’t illegal to only audition actors of a certain age, gender, and/or race for a particular role, because those traits might be necessary in order to portray the character as intended. (Note: I’m not condoning the current distribution of roles, which I think sucks, but it’s also a different issue than whether it should be legal to hire actors who resemble the characters they’re supposed to play.)

      If a job is “to produce racially sensitive OITNB recaps”, then it’s reasonable to think that the lived experience of a woman of color is a necessary thing to bring to this job as much as possible – and not all the recap writers are women of color, but it’s a reasonable thing to prefer.

  36. I didn’t see the original post but I have to say this is the most thorough and transparent apology I’ve ever seen. I know you aren’t looking for kudos but I wanted to thank you, as a woman of color, from the bottom of my heart. I will for sure be back to read more of your content.

  37. And then, eight hours later, the same article that did not meet Autostraddle’s wonderfully transparent, pro-queer, pro-pocs, feminist filtering appeared on Afterellen.
    …which perfectly demonstrates what is amazing about Autostraddle and what is wrong with Afterellen.

  38. I didn’t read the original review but I’m pleased to see you guys owning your mistake in such a forthright way.

    On the other hand, can I just say that “We heard from readers who questioned the consent of the sexual encounter between the taco and the hot dog bun” is not something I would ever have thought I would have to read in my life, ever? I hate Seth Rogen.

  39. Great accountability, but you should also keep an eye on your use of ableist language like the above uses of “stupid” and reference to “blindness.” There are always many ways to do better and this accountability post gives me faith that you will pursue them. Thanks.

    • I can’t tell if this is a serious comment or a baiting one… but would you mind elaborating what would you suggest as an alternative to “blindness” in the sentence it was used in?

    • “Stupid” and “blindness” are words that effectively communicate an idea to the audience and are perfectly acceptable. They are not ableist, as stupid generally refers to absuridity or idiocy, and blindness has long been used metaphorically.

      The last thing we need is more unnecessary language policing.

      • Just as you pointed out yourself absurdity and idiocy are fine replacements for stupid. And using metaphors around ability is unnecessary, a lot of things have “long been used” but that doesn’t make them right or acceptable. If it takes thirty seconds to think of a different way to phrase a sentence, in order to reduce the language with marginalizing and hurtful histories, isn’t it worth it? Double checking your language is part of being accountable. Making a little extra effort doesn’t take much, but not doing so can be really harmful and hurtful.

  40. this is exactly why i don’t care to engage in comments on this site, despite wanting to read the content (especially heathers)

    the sensitivity level of this community is so absurd i don’t have the energy to deal with it. the fact that this is a crass cgi hot dog movie and these points need spelled out at this length… my god. i’m so sorry the writers have to deal with this bullshit. reality doesn’t carefully craft and cater out what 99.999% of the population says or does, so the fact the writers had a decent screening process is pretty good. this doesn’t warrant an apology – more like an edit and an editors note.

    • The staff didn’t write this apology and start laying the groundwork for doing better because they want to coddle those who are offended as a way to “deal with this bullshit”. They’re doing it because publishing this piece and seeing the pushback demonstrated that they had a process that was broken, and they used this experience to be more accountable to readers and to the staff because they WANTED to. Because it’s part of the core mission of Autostraddle.

      I would say that when someone comes in to comment “this is why I don’t comment”, they should evaluate if a.) their voice is really necessary, or if they could have just left without coming to insult people and if b.) if the vast majority of comments and contributions to the site annoy you, perhaps this isn’t the place for you.

  41. This should be sent around as an example of how to properly apologize. I so admire the grace, strength and obvious commitment to growth you and the team have shown in handling this situation. The transparency and thoroughness of this apology should be commended; it truly allows up to see that the team engages in reflective discussion and conversation and seeks growth. Thank you.

    • I want to say “Of course not, just the stupid ones” and accompany it with a condescending smile or eye roll gif but last time I got salty I bit some poor innocent person’s head off for what turned out to be no reason.

      Instead I’m going to quote a very smart person’s note they left to Tom up above

      [“Stupid fucking men” doesn’t refer to all men on an individual level. “Stupid fucking men” refers to a demographic that condones misogynistic, racist, homophobic attitudes in society that are hurtful and damaging towards marginalized groups.
      Just as “patriarchy” doesn’t equal “all men”, but rather the social systems which grants a very particular group of men social privileges. ]

      While yes a transman can some times get those privileges based around outward appearance such as not have some rando demand smiles etc. if they’re white and can ‘pass’ but the privileges are skin deep and always with a risk attached.
      As I guess you might know or have realised.

      Also another thing I wish to quote from Nina

      [The fact that all you zeroed in on in this article was three words, among a much larger discussion about racial issues and racial privilege shows that you need to listen more to what’s going on around you. ]

      This isn’t about YOU this is about racism, k.
      Capisci?

        • And btw, I was merely trying to point out how cissexist that phrase seemed to be; when I read it, it seemed to equate men with cis men, not with patriarchy as a conplex phenomenon.

        • Because it is a thing in my family that we say at the end of explaining things/trying to get a point across, and that is how it is spelled to the best of my memory.
          Would you prefer comprendes or the usted comprende? After all we hardly know each other comprendes might be too familiar. 😉

          • I would prefer avoiding any generalization, no matter the group involved, and I would prefer avoiding the use of ‘men’ as a synonym for ‘patriarchy’.

            Also, using ‘capisci’ was really classy, given the topic of the discussion. Being Italian (as in born and living in Italy), I really enjoy expressions reinforcing Mafia-related stereotypes.

  42. The answer to “we fucked up on this race-related editing decision because it was up to a white editor to make the call about something a white freelancer did that was potentially racist” isn’t just to vaguely do better, it’s to prevent that situation from happening again. And from how you talk about your OITNB process, I’m not actually sure you understand what actually caused the problem: white people being in charge of race-related editing decisions.

    I don’t doubt you’re a good ally, but it shouldn’t be allies making these calls. It shouldn’t be white people editing white people’s OITNB reviews to conform with The POC Opinion (defined, of course, by the articles white people liked enough to curate into a collective The POC Opinion). It shouldn’t be “the majority of our senior staff is white” without a plan to fix that the majority of your senior staff is white, or to at least get a system going that puts racially sensitive material in the hands of appropriate senior staff (i.e. not the white ones). You’re a well-read, considerate white person, but you are a white person. You don’t outrank anyone when it comes to race. You don’t outrank some shitty dudebro who legitimately enjoyed Sausage Party on race, and if he’s of color, he outranks you.

    I’m white too, and the thing is, we as white people just can’t see racism very well because we don’t have the necessary life experience. We’re looking for something we’ve been conditioned not to notice, and even though we may get better at knowing where it’s theoretically supposed to be, we’ll never be able to see it like someone who hasn’t had that conditioning could. I know you’re trying very hard, but the solution isn’t to try very hard, it’s to give the task to people who can do it.

    • Frankly I don’t think a shitty dudebro who enjoyed Sausage Party will ever outrank someone who writes for this website no matter what group he’s claiming to be a part of, but that’s admittedly a really low bar.

      • I am aware that people can lie about their race on the internet, and that isn’t what I was actually talking about. Progressive white allies don’t know more about systematic racism than the people who actually experience it, any more than progressive straight allies know more about systematic homophobia than less-progressive queer people do.

  43. I can appreciate that someone could have read the review and found it problematic. Sounds like the movie was problematic. Did we not see that coming? Sounds like some folks found it funny. It’s definitely a classy move to own that the review bothered some people and apologize for any unintentional harm. Awesome level of honesty and transparency. Having said that, if anyone was caused actual pain by the complaints listed, like the potentially questionable consent between a *taco* and a *hotdog bun*… Jesus H Roosevelt Christ. Can we get off the professional victim train? Let’s employ some basic coping skills and consider, as a bisexual woman myself, does it matter if anyone assumed the TACO was a lesbian? And then I read the comment section and there are yet more offended people. You’re using ableist language! Head. Desk. The idea that a freelance writer has a less valid or valuable opinion because they are not a POC is ludicrous. We are discussing the sexual consent given by a cartoon taco while invalidating a real life person’s opinion.

    • And yet look at all the words you used to write your comment. You’re offended by our offense. Do you want a cookie for bravely telling us all that striving for inclusive language is really excluding all the white fragility that you’re bringing to this conversation?

    • YES! The mods are (generally) amazingly responsive. It reminds me that I want to contribute more to Autostraddle in 2017 because I know this kind of labor is shitty, even when you get to hit delete on this garbage, and I’m guessing much of it is unpaid/unappreciated.

  44. I don’t think this is satire, even though it definitely reads like it. These people actually believe whites cannot emphathize with or understand latinos, latinos can’t emphathize with blacks, men cannot emphathize with women, straights cannot emphathize with gays, etc.

  45. This whole apology was absolutely unnecessary in my opinion. I had a hard time reading it, let alone trying to digest all of the nonsense included. Let me be clear, Thank you Autostraddle for apologizing when you felt that you had done something wrong. It is wonderful that you were so transparent and let us into the inner workings of the great things you do. I also want to say that I did not see the movie, I did not read the review, I am Latina mixbreed, lesbian, and a mother. Are people really up in arms over a movie called ‘Sausage Party’? Also, are we really going to get so nitpicky about the language (Was she Bi or Lez?) (Is she a predatory lesbian?) (Ableist language!?!?!?) Please, people, please. Let’s stop worrying about being HURT and worry about how we can make things better. Being kind, considerate, respectful,kind, and open is enough in my opinion. Not every person of color or latina lady would feel like I do about everything. Not every white person will either. This is all just getting so ridiculous when people are writing to complain about an article regarding a terrible movie and a maybe lesbian taco. I have a story to share.

    *******trigger alert*******

    Almost 10 years ago, a man in walmart held a gun to my head. He told me that God was telling him to kill someone and that day it was going to be me. I was able to get away, he was arrested, BUT I kept myself locked in my home with my children for about a month. Friends had to bring me food and help to care for me and them because I was petrified. The first day that I chose to drive after this whole ordeal, my sons asked me to take them to their favorite bagel place. As we were driving, a police officer pulled me over for a lapsed inspection sticker. I lost it. “Where were YOU when I was about to get shot?”, I yelled. “You pull me over for this and give me a hard time but where were you when I NEEDED YOU?!?!?” The moral of the story is that the world is filled with REALLY bad things right now and we are going to spend all this energy on THIS!?!?

    • When you feel the need to apologize to anyone and everyone who claims to be offended in the slightest, you write pieces like this. Browsing through this site, it’s obvious the staff care very much about tolerance and equality and work very hard, yet somehow they’ve convinced themselves that they’re still racist or insensitive because of comments about a movie review? Why can’t they stand up for themselves? When will they draw the line and say that an offense is unjustified?

      • No, not that. I do not think that I am A Racist. One of the lies that props up this system we live in that constantly and systemically oppresses people of color is that there are Not Racists and Racists, and that’s it. But the world is not divided into good people and Death Eaters, and the eagerness of people to force that false dichotomy is the kind of thing that leads to the worst propaganda being used to do the most harm to minority groups. The system of white supremacy is real, it does exist, and it’s evident in everything from the way Black communities are policed to the way minority voting is suppressed by state legislatures around the country to — I mean, just look at Donald Trump.

        He is flat out running for president of the United States as the leader of a major political party on a platform of othering Muslims, Latino immigrants, Black people. And 40 percent of the country supports him! They support him, in large part, because white supremacy continues to thrive in this country. So while I don’t think I am A Racist, I do think I am a person who can be ignorant to the ways my whiteness contributes to that system of supremacy.

        Allowing a white writer to publish a review praising a caricature of a queer Latina is part of the problem that makes up the system. It is prioritizing the voice and opinion of a white person over the voices and opinions of the people of color affected by the stereotyping. And I participated in that problem, and I owe women of color an apology for that.

        I don’t need to stand up for myself. I’m the one who made the mistake. It takes no strength at all to stand firm in your place of power and refuse to apologize. It takes a lot of strength to look inside yourself and see what things you’re doing to cause harm to other people, to acknowledge it, and to ask forgiveness for it. And it takes even more strength than that to be hurt by a person who has power and forgive them and trust them not to do it to you again. I have no desire to justify my offenses. That is the behavior of the weak and if I’m going to help tear down the systems that oppress people of color, there is no time or place for my weakness and tender feelings. There is work to be done and I want to do it and I can’t do it well if I don’t listen and admit when I’m wrong.

        You don’t have to be waving a Confederate flag around to be contributing to the system of white supremacy.

        • Your misconceptions on the system of white supremacy and Trump aside, a white person is perfectly capable of writing about a latina stereotype character in the movie. I didn’t read the review in question, but I strongly doubt that the writer was cheering the movie for its accurate depiction of latinos and instead would guess that she enjoyed the character and found its absurdity entertaining.

          Publishing the review of a white writer is not “prioritizing.” She offered you content and obviously you thought it was interesting enough to put online. The story is what matters, not the race. And surely, don’t you have enough faith in your own and your colleagues’ abilities to truly recognize when something is actually racist?

          And no, it takes infinitely more strength to defend yourself not from a position of power (you don’t have power) but from a position of reason against a mob of unwarranted criticism. Bowing to pressure is easy. You’re fundamentally misunderstanding your role as a purveyor of ideas, instead conceiving yourself as some sort of crusader for the “oppressed” that has let them down by publishing something not everyone liked. If you believe in what you say, who cares if people are offended? Stand up for yourself.

          • I *do* have power. I have power because I am white in a system that rewards whiteness. I have power because I am cisgender and able-bodied in a system that rewards both of those things. I have power because I am a senior editor of the most widely read website for queer women on the internet. I have power over you right now; I could delete your comment or change it to a GIF of a crying baby. I could block your IP address or edit your comment to make every third word “butts.”

            I have the power of words and the power of a platform.

            Your problem isn’t that I’m not standing up for myself. My comment to you demonstrated clearly that I am capable of and willing to do that. Your problem is that I am not standing up for your worldview. And I won’t stand up for it. I don’t agree with it and no amount of condescension from you will change that.

            I have been changing hearts and minds for my entire life, my friend, and I will keep doing it until the day I die.

          • It’s so weird that this mansplaining garbage didn’t cause the revolution that adrshepard imagined when they showed up to ‘splain to us all how the world works.

          • Sounds like I don’t give a shit about what gender you are and I think your arguments are garbage and that you should go back to Reddit, where your fragile ego can be coddled as you demand.

    • Fellow Latina here. I wasn’t egregiously offended by the movie or the fact that it was reviewed here. But it did bother me a little that a freaking taco was hailed as a positive representation of Latinas. It was less an insult to my heritage and more an insult to my intelligence! Anyway, the purpose of the movie was to make people laugh, not to positively represent anyone or anything.

      However, a lot of readers WERE very offended. I may not agree with them, but I still think Autostraddle did the right thing. You still have the right to respectfully voice your dissenting opinion, of course.

  46. Although I may be nothing more than a “stupid f***ing man” as Yvonne so colorful puts it, those words are still extremely hurtful.

    I am absolutely all for safe spaces and the use of people first rhetoric, however, individuals utilizing their safe spaces as shields while throwing stones at others is mean-spirited and rather hypocritical in this instance.

    Not to say that such things can’t be said in private conversations of people choose to be insensitive behind closed doors – as I believe Yvonne’s words were initially written – but they most certainly do not need to be published for the world to see.

      • Because the one thing that Autostraddle needs is more men, telling us what we should say or do and lecturing us on what should offend us. You have to admit, queer girl, it’s really weird why there isn’t more room for men here, on this site geared towards men’s voices.

        Protip, Aaron, if you don’t want to be lumped in with stupid fucking men, maybe don’t act like a stupid fucking man on a site that doesn’t exist for you. Sorry if you think it’s soooooooo mean that we’re not all thrilled you showed up to ‘splain things to us.

        • I’m here because I thought the Internet was created for everyone. I’m here because I enjoy conversing with people who possess different viewpoints and life experiences from me, because I place high value on learning.

          If this site was meant to be exclusive and ultimately non-inclusive, then why was I allowed to join?

          • Whether or not the internet was created for everyone is beside the point. This particular website was not created for everyone. It was created for queer/lesbian/bi/etc women. There are community standards here, such as not saying intentionally antagonistic things like, “individuals utilizing their safe spaces as shields while throwing stones at others is mean-spirited and rather hypocritical in this instance”. If you are interested in learning, I recommend reading the comment section in its entirety. Some of your concerns have already been addressed elsewhere and it would derail the thread too much to go into it again here.

          • Translation: “Man tears, I can’t handle not being welcome into a space that doesn’t exist for me even though the vast majority of the internet exists for me and exalts my opinions above all else.”

            Alternative translation: “but whut about the men, queer lady site. Whut about the men.”

            Is it really so hard to understand why queer women don’t need a man to come explain to us how to be?

          • p.s. Aaron, if you’re really interested in learning, how about shutting your fucking mouth and observing the community instead of coming in and deciding this place NEEDS to hear your voice. You can learn every. single. thing. you need to know about Autostraddle by observing silently.

          • Owl – my goal was not to antagonize anyone, but to learn via discussion. However, I’m not going to not create a dialogue simply because others may value my opinion less than others. Again, if this website was not for me, why was I permitted to join? In fact, why was there not a vetting process put in place before I signed up?

            Lady H: What are man-tears? Is that a derogatory label placed specifically upon a man’s query or voiced concern? As for the Internet exalting my opinion, I do remember saying not believing such.

            I simply do not understand the vitriole.

          • Lady H – if my input will not be valued, then I shall not speak.

            That being said, I would never – and have never – treated anyone the way you treated me on this website. And I do hope you do not bully anyone else like this again.

          • Aaron, there’s not a vetting process because anyone is welcome to join, as long as they respect the existing community and keep it a safe space for queer women. What you are doing is more the equivalent of…

            Showing up to a baseball game, then getting really upset that the athletes aren’t playing basketball and then asking why there wasn’t a vetting process for fans if they’re going to allow basketball fans in instead of limiting the audience to baseball fans.

            or

            Walking into a church in the middle of the service, running up the aisles really loudly shouting all of your theological questions and demanding that they be answered right then and there. Everyone in the church asks that you be quiet and points out that it’s not a good time, so you ask why they didn’t lock the doors to keep you out if they’re going to be ultimately non-inclusive.

            This isn’t about you; it’s about your behavior. You’re welcome here if you seek first to understand. That is best done by listening.

            I am done responding to your comments now.

  47. This is our space. THIS IS OUR SPACE. And now MRAs from Reddit have effectively derailed what was supposed to be a thoughtful and helpful conversation about race, pop culture, and editorial transparency – and proving just how much it matters that we keep having those conversations in the process. Fuck them.

    If some of you want to keep engaging with these assholes here, I understand. But for my own peace, I’m going to try to peel myself away now, drink some coffee, do some work, and look at some amazing people in No Filter. (Lol posting partly to hold myself to that plan – it can be amazingly hard to tear oneself away from troll battling).

    Love my AS community. Love the moderators, the editors, and every thoughtful reader in the bunch. Happy Wednesday!

  48. Thank you for this thoughtful analysis of your process and privilege. I also appreciate the hard work of reading and deleting the comments of these stupid fucking (cis) men.

  49. Long time lurker, but I just want to come out of the wood work here to say I am truly touched and inspired by this apology. I make no secret of the fact that I get triggered easily in these offensive times and this stupid taco movie really got me when the commercial came on the t.v. I went to a place I’m not proud of, my mom came into my room to bring me a plate of chicken nuggets and I literally screamed at her and hit the plate of chicken nuggets out of her hand. She started yelling and swearing at me and I slammed the door on her. I was so distressed I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t mean to do that to my mom but I was literally in shock from the trailer.

    But pieces like this can seriously help. I just want you to know that your work is truly inspiring and makes a difference. 🙂

    • Hey, this is obviously a Reddit troll talking like how they think an SJW is supposed to talk to get in some stupid in-joke about moms and chicken nuggets. “Offensive times?” You people can’t stop fellating yourselves long enough to pass as the enemy convincingly, and that’s hilarious to me.

      Mods, come take out the trash.

  50. I think the toned-down nature of the final movie compared with the explicit harm in the original script would have been a more interesting article about intent. Is it wrong that people who don’t know the original intent are like “lighten up”, or that those who do condemn the film? Is editing out harm enough, when the point of view still informs less explicit problems?

    Way more interesting than “this walking tired joke is positive representation”, which is absurd and makes me wonder what isn’t counted as positive representation to the writer.

    That said, I appreciate the apology, even if I think it’s more serious than is necessarily warranted.

    • I dunno man, I think it’s really sad that losers like you hang out on Reddit slavering over what you perceive as overly touchy “social justice warriors” (AKA anyone who gives a shit about anyone else). It’s shitty for you that you have nothing better to do except reassure your bros that you’re so brave to come here to do some mansplaining to queers like us who make your testosterone drop by existing without needing your validation.

      How do you survive being that insecure everyday? How can you exist in a world where sometimes ladies end up having a conversation that isn’t centered on you?

  51. Wait, this isn’t satire?

    It’s hard to counter the far right’s misperception that “political correctness” is ruining discourse when a movie review can be unpublished simply because readers disagreed with the author’s opinion.

    In the future, why not encourage people to write their own dissenting thinkpieces about what such a review got wrong? Be more inclusive of other views, not less! (Particularly when the author of the piece clearly seems to be on the side of LGBTQ activists and want greater representation.)

  52. While I really appreciate how committed Autostraddle is to social justice, and how responsive it is to reader concerns, this was just not necessary.

    As Yvonne pointed out, the review in question wasn’t intended to represent an endorsement of the film, just to offer one perspective. I’m sure there was plenty to be legitimately offended about in this film (my girlfriend went to see it and ended up walking out of the theater) but it’s an aggressively stupid movie about anthropomorphic meat – we don’t need to take it that seriously. A brief note clarifying that the writer’s opinion did not represent those of Autostraddle or the Autostraddle staff, and an acknowledgment that readers had raised legitimate concerns regarding racism/sexism/stereotyping in the film would have been plenty.

    There is so much fucked up shit happening in the world and we need to be mindful of where we direct our energy. Reading this I was reminded of an ancient Autostaddle article that I loved back in the day. I feel like some of us could stand to read/re-read it now. http://www.autostraddle.com/kc-dangers-guide-to-fck-giving-75618/

  53. Wait! My comment was deleted because I politely disagreed with the use of the term “white supremacy”?

    Is this the political correctness policing gone amok that has spawned the likes of Donald Trump running for president?

    Thanks a bunch for that?!

  54. Hi,
    This is my first post having found your article linked on a conservative site called HeatStreet through Facebook. As a gay man who hasn’t seen this movie or read the original article concerning it, I would would just like to propose that there may be value in a crass caricature of a less understood social identity (minority identity) if the caricature is flagrantly fictitious and hyperbolic. It not only has the capacity to address negative or generalizing stereotypes, which are crass themselves, but it eases social tension and discomfort. Cartoons are simplifications of complex subject matter by nature, and I believe there may be a problem that could arise in creating controversy. I would challenge this article’s conclusion that the race of the freelancer contributed to a mischaracterization of Latinx culture by parody in the taco character voiced by Hayek. Restricting people’s perception of cultures that are foreign or uninherited by way of ethnic contribution or opinion is problematic and harmful. Certainly a person who doesn’t share cultural origin in something with another still has the cerebral capacity to make careful judgement and opinion or sympathy for something learned. Race influences our perspective, but it does not mold our intellectual pr emotional capacity.
    –Matt

    • lmao “As a gay man who hasn’t seen this movie or read the original article concerning it”

      Not every space is the time or place for every debate. We decided we didn’t want to talk about this awful movie here because it contains a racist caricature. The apology is for the original post which portrayed something that was a racist caricature as positive lesbian representation. And if you think people who have personal experience with an issue aren’t the ones whose voices should be uplifted, well fine that’s your opinion, but the editorial staff and the majority of the readership on this particular website disagree.

  55. The George Orwell novel 1984 includes an office feature — at the Ministry of Truth — called memory holes in which anything printed that is not currently accepted thought can be destroyed, thereby destroying any possible recollection of such a thought.

    • I just find it hilarious when people crawl over here from reddit to mansplain 1984 while simultaneously not understanding the difference between government/state censorship and the leadership of a private company choosing what ideas and opinions they want to promote on their privately owned and financed platform.

      The George Orwell novel 1984 also includes a daily ritual called the two-minutes hate during which people whip themselves into an irrational frenzy of anger directed at populations which are considered Other but with whom they have never actually engaged in good faith.

  56. All these fools getting their comment deleted, you must have done something right to awaken the troll army lol.

    Though I am cynical, I think this apology is too defensive to the point you lost me, I think worse of your editorial “process” after reading the slack convo.

    Lots of good content always on this site. In case you didn’t already know, it’s okay to be wrong.

    but it’s never okay to pay your underlings in “experience and exposure.” I thought it strange to include this in your apology.

      • Nah brah, you should copy paste the comment into a word document or something. Then work on correcting the grammar and punctuation.
        There’s posting in vernacular rather than academic and then there are eyesores.

        It would more constructive use of your time and energy than harrying people who give zero fucks about you and your feels.
        Just consider it.

  57. At the risk of offending, which seems all to easy to do on this website, don’t you think you’re taking a raunchy animated film about talking food and produce way too seriously? Enough, I say, with the politically correct orthodoxy and the ridiculous notion that all minorities in America are somehow helpless victims of a system of white supremacy. My advice: 1) Stop looking for things to be upset about. 2) Cease and desist embracing victimhood 3) Lighten up and have a few laughs.

    • You seem to like unsolicited advice so I’m going to return the favor:
      GO AWAY. GO. LEAVE. TURN AROUND AND GO CIRCLE JERK ABOUT HOW HARD IT IS TO BE A MAN IN SOME GARBAGE SUBREDDIT AND GET THE HELL OFF THIS WEBSITE FOR QUEER WOMEN YOU ANNOYING BEARDED IDIOT. AND BUY AN FING RAZOR FOR YOUR FACE PUBES. GROSS.

      Hope I didn’t offend your delicate male feelings! Return to whatever hole you crawled out of to get here and we can forget this ever happened! Byeeeeeeeeee

  58. Thanks for the swift action but please do seriously read and take in the comments about how a chunk of the apology sounds white saviour-ish when you point to how well you’re usually doing by seeking out poc opinions.

  59. I’m really sick and tired of seeing misogyny and oppression like this in the media. It’s not creative in any way, and it just hurts. I am SO thankful for you for taking this down and realizing it was inappropriate. This whole movie is bullshit. Like… holy shit . My mom came into my room to bring me a plate of chicken nuggets and I literally screamed at her and hit the plate of chicken nuggets out of her hand. She started yelling and swearing at me and I slammed the door on her. I’m so distressed right now I don’t know what to do. I didn’t mean to do that to my mom but I’m literally in shock from the contents of this movie. I feel like I’m going to explode. Why the fucking fuck is racism and misogyny still a thing? This can’t be happening. I’m having a fucking breakdown. I don’t want to believe the world is so corrupt. I want a future to believe in. I cannot fucking deal with this right now. It wasn’t supposed to be like this, I thought we were all better than this???? This is so fucked.

    • YESSSSS Autostraddle can you make this a thing, like a “sponsor a troll” drive where we can nominate the most creatively whiny comments made by MRAs and donate based on how many delicate man-tears were shed writing the comment. ($1 = 1 delicate man-tears, $ = 5 delicate man-tears, etc.)

      OR can we all play MRA bingo in the comments where you can win prizes, you could win by spotting things like: do they use the term feminazi, do they accuse Heather of being a racist, do they whine about the use of “stupid fucking men”, do they start off by saying “I am a white male” to establish that they’re an expert on Latinx/queer culture, do they claim they just want someone to answer their questions, waaaaaahhhh why are you guys SO mean?

  60. Oh I’m sorry I guess *you* taking the time to complain about some women who don’t like a movie is greatly helping the impoverished and disenfranchised populations of the world!?

    Glass houses, dude

  61. You’re a hero, Jan Glaser. If you hadn’t taken the time to write this well-reasoned comment, Autostraddlers would have continued being utterly unaware of any of the atrocities in this world.

    p.s. You don’t see the irony that someone who spends all their time trolling websites they dislike is lecturing strangers about how there are more important things to be up in arms about?

      • By “outsiders”, you mean men who came here to troll a site geared towards queer women. Hmm, why would anyone be less than welcoming to a bunch of overly sensitive, whining men storming in and demanding that we all stop being so sensitive because we’re hurting their delicate feelings.

        It must be real hard to walk around wondering what women are laughing at you, huh. It’s so much easier to tell yourself that we hate ALL men instead of wondering if maybe we just hate the pathetic ones who lose their shit when something exists on the internet without needing men.

    • I can’t fathom why anyone would doubt your sincerity, Digital Warrior…I mean, you used “cis” and “POC” in your comment.

      Now, granted, you used cis in such a way that suggests that you don’t actually know what it meas but…

      • @pecola Well as for my screen name its one I started to use as a joke when I was in the military. I was in the army but got stuck doing stuff for the help-desk at our brigade the entire time. I’m sure you can see the irony in the screen-name from that.

        And I do know what cis means. Its refers to cisgendered or a person who identifies with their biological sex. So how do you think I use it incorrectly?

  62. Guess I’m the only poc who is tired of seeing white people give each other endless pats on the back for achieving the basics. I’m so sad that we’ve been conditioned to stand up and cheer for problematic “apologies” like this.

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