Associated Press Draws Criticism After Firing Phoenix Reporter

Published: Sunday, May 23, 2021 - 12:08pm
Updated: Monday, May 24, 2021 - 8:01am
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The firing last week of an Associated Press reporter for her conduct the news agency said violated its social media policy while employed as one of its journalists is being criticized.

Former Arizona Republic intern Emily Wilder began working for the AP on May 3, based in Phoenix. She was fired May 19 after being the target of conservative media outlets like Fox News for pro-Palestinian rights comments she made on social media while a student at Stanford University in 2020.

Phoenix-based attorney Dan Barr, who specializes in first amendment issues, said if it's true that comments from those media outlets and conservative groups led to her firing, “That’s worrisome if the Associated Press is terminating her less than three weeks after she was hired in the first place for statements that she made in college.”

AP spokeswoman Lauren Easton Friday would not say what Wilder had written that violated the news agency’s policy that, “prohibits employees from openly expressing their opinions on political matters and other public issues for fear that could damage the news organization's reputation for objectivity and jeopardize its many reporters around the world.”

Wilder — who is Jewish — said she wasn’t given specifics.