Gov. Phil Murphy sharply criticized the Asbury Park Press and Gannett for a photo caption that included misogynistic and ethnic slurs, calling the reference to “a fucking hot nurse, a total JAP” as “completely, utterly unacceptable, really offensive – offensive at so many different levels.”
The caption appeared in the online edition of the newspaper on Sunday, accompanying an Orthodox woman nurse preparing a vial of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
“I literally was told about this caption. I frankly didn’t believe it. I then read it with me own eyes and it is unfathomable that someone could have written that, even privately, never mind that it was published,” Murphy said at a Covid press briefing in Trenton on Monday.
Murphy suggested that someone’s job might be at stake over and bashed the response from the newspaper’s executive editor, Paul D’Ambrosio.
“I would think, with all due respect, someone has to pay a price for that. That’s completely, incredibly offensive, Murphy said. “Even the apology missed the point.
D’Ambrosio said that the photo ran with an unapproved and offensive caption and that it was removed “as soon as it was brought to our attention.”
But D’Ambrosio stopped short of calling out the photographer, Gustavo Martinez Contreras, or naming other employees involved in the publication of the story.
He has not yet responded to an 11:26 AM email with additional questions about who was involved, or the specifics of what D’Ambrosio called changes to their “online procedures to ensure such an event never happens again.”
The newspaper editor apologized to “women, the Lakewood Jewish community, the Asian American community and all our readers.”
It’s not clear whether D’Ambrosio completely understood that the derogatory term “JAP” likely referred to a Jewish American Princess and not someone who is of Japanese descent. The nurse in the photo was an Orthodox Jewish woman.
Murphy spoke incredulously about Gannett’s actions.
“I just can’t believe that in this day and age, that (it’s) not just written in someone’s diary, but that it would be published online,” the governor said.