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30 Sep, 2018 21:51

USA Today edits Kavanaugh piece with ‘pedophilia’ hints, gets even more backlash

USA Today edits Kavanaugh piece with ‘pedophilia’ hints, gets even more backlash

USA Today has edited an article which added an implied ‘pedophilia’ angle to the saga of SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh after a massive outcry, clarifying that it was an opinion piece and deleting some controversial passages.

The article by Erik Brandy, which was published on USA Today’s website on Friday, revolved around Kavanaugh’s words during a Senate testimony on Thursday. He said that he may never be able to coach his daughters’ basketball team anymore due to the sex assault accusations and broader scandal surrounding his Supreme Court nomination.

The author questioned whether the nominee should ever coach youngsters and alluded to the case of Larry Nassar, a US gymnastics team coach who was found guilty of multiple sexual assaults, despite this having no connection to the issue. Kavanaugh, 53, is accused by college professor Christine Blasey Ford, 52, of an incident which allegedly occurred 36 years ago, while they were both high-school students.

The article caused a huge backlash from conservative commentators online and, in an unusual move, the outlet made significant changes to the piece.

The headline has been changed to clarify that it was an opinion article, while the text now opens with an editor's note, which reads: “Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh has told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee he loves coaching his daughters' girls basketball teams, but said in testimony Thursday 'thanks to what some of you on this side of the committee have unleashed, I may never be able to coach again.' The intent of this commentary was to address that question. The column was re-edited to more closely reflect that intent and labeled to reflect it as the writer’s opinion.”

Several paragraphs calling on Kavanaugh to stay away from youth sports have also been deleted.

“The US Senate may yet confirm Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, but he should stay off basketball courts for now when kids are around,” one of the removed passages read.

The paragraph that concluded Brandy’s original piece was also dropped. “The nation is deeply divided. Sometimes it feels like we don’t agree on anything anymore. But credibly accused sex offenders should not coach youth basketball, girls or boys, without deeper investigation. Can’t we all agree on that?” it had read.

The Kavanaugh saga has been the focus of media attention over the last few weeks with many US outlets not shy about taking sides. But USA Today became the first to actually make considerable changes under public pressure.

READ MORE: Senate Judiciary Committee asks FBI, DOJ to investigate Kavanaugh accuser for lying

However, the amendments didn’t seem to appease the critics, who said that the move changed nothing and expressed hope that USA Today would still be sued over the “shameful” article, and apologize to Kavanaugh.

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