AP journalists slam agency for firing pro-Palestinian colleague Emily Wilder

The news associate was dismissed for a breach of the company’s social media policy

epa03700099 The Associated Press (AP) logo is seen at the entrance to their office building in New York, New York , USA, 14 May 2013. US officials improperly seized records for 20 telephone numbers of Associated Press journalists, the news agency alleged in a letter 13 May to the Justice Department. The records were obtained secretly last year during a two-month period and include a list of calls made from numbers at the agency's New York headquarters as well as offices in Washington and Connecticut and home and mobile phone numbers of reporters, AP chief executive Gary Pruitt wrote in a letter to US Attorney General Eric Holder.  EPA/ANDREW GOMBERT
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More than 120 journalists at The Associated Press agency have penned an open letter to their employer condemning the dismissal of Emily Wilder.

The journalist was fired  last week for violating AP's social media policy, following an online campaign against her by conservatives.

“We strongly disapprove of the way the AP has handled the firing of Emily Wilder and its days-long silence internally,” the AP journalists said in the letter.

“We demand more clarity from the company about why Wilder was fired.”

In a statement posted online, Wilder said she had not been told “which exact tweets were in violation of policy or how".

Last week, AP said Wilder had been fired for violating their social media policy but would not specify how.

“We have this policy so the comments of one person cannot create dangerous conditions for our journalists covering the story," said Lauren Easton, AP's head of communications.

"Every AP journalist is responsible for safeguarding our ability to report on this conflict, or any other, with fairness and credibility, and cannot take sides in public forums."

Wilder, a 2020 graduate of Stanford University in California, was two weeks into her job as a news associate with AP in Arizona when the Stanford College Young Republicans dug through her past social media use and highlighted a number of posts online.

In one post, the group discovered, she referred to Sheldon Adelson, the late Jewish-American billionaire who was a staunch supporter of Israel, as a "naked mole rat".

Wilder, who is Jewish, was a member of several pro-Palestinian student organisations while at Stanford. She said in her statement that she had always been "transparent" about her past involvement in such groups.

Her dismissal came days after the Israeli military ordered an air strike on a building housing the AP's office in Gaza.

Israel alleges the building was part of Hamas's military infrastructure, though it has yet to publicly disclose any evidence.

The journalists said Wilder's dismissal has left them shaken and concerned for their own careers.

“The lack of communication since then about Wilder’s firing and the circumstances surrounding it gives us no confidence that any one of us couldn’t be next, sacrificed without explanation,” they wrote.

"It has left our colleagues – particularly emerging journalists – wondering how we treat our own, what culture we embrace and what values we truly espouse as a company."