'Can You Not Express an Opinion That Differs?': Forbes Fires Writer Over 'Drunk College Girls' Piece
A Forbes columnist was fired and his column deleted from the website after he wrote that the "gravest threat to fraternities are drunk female guests."
Contributor Bill Frezza wrote:
Before feminist web vigilantes call for my defenestration, I single out female guests for one simple reason. Fraternity alumni boards, working with chapter officers, employ a variety of policies designed to guide and police member behavior. Our own risk management manual exceeds 22 pages. The number of rules and procedures that have to be followed to run a party nowadays would astound anyone over 40. We take the rules very seriously, so much so that brothers who flout these policies can, and will, be asked to move out. But we have very little control over women who walk in the door carrying enough pre-gaming booze in their bellies to render them unconscious before the night is through.
The article quickly spread on social media and Frezza triggered a huge backlash that ended with Forbes severing ties with him.
The New York Post reported:
The uproar is sure to be an eye-opener for the new Asian owners: Hong Kong-based Tak Cheung Yam and Singapore-based Wayne Hsieh.
They completed their acquisition of the Forbes Media empire only this month, ending 97 years of family ownership that included three generations of Forbeses.
The furor shows the danger of the Forbes Web model — started several years ago by Lewis DVorkin — which enlists thousands of unpaid contributors to post to its site.
The advantage is that it supplies content cheaply and boosts traffic. But the drawback is many of the unpaid writers’ contributions are not vetted by editors. And sometimes things can go horribly wrong.
An example of Frezza’s prose: “As recriminations against fraternities mount and panicked college administrators search for an easy out, one factor doesn’t seem to be getting sufficient analysis: drunk female guests.”
The column appeared only days after a female student from Rutgers died after being whisked from a frat party to the hospital, and alcohol was cited as playing a role in her death.
Frezza identified himself as an MIT grad with a degree in engineering and theology who is the president of his fraternity alumni association.
The artwork accompanying the column, which was also pulled down, showed a busty, seemingly drunk woman lying on the floor with her blouse unbuttoned while swilling from a bottle of booze.
A Forbes spokeswoman said, “ Mr. Frezza is no longer a contributor to Forbes.com.”
The "Outnumbered" hosts weighed in on the controversy, with Andrea Tantaros and Kirsten Powers wondering why the writer took so much heat.
Tantaros said the scenario presented by Frezza is a "legitimate fear" and is a problem that does exist across American colleges.
Powers said Frezza's firing shows the growing trend in American culture in which controversial or different ideas are not even tolerated.
"I have a real problem that this person wrote something and whether you agree with it or not, why does it have to be pulled down and everybody has to freak out over it? Can you not express an opinion that differs?" Powers asked.
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