- Fasih Ahmed via Twitter
- An editor for Newsweek’s edition in Pakistan tweeted what many took as a defense of sexual abuse against children, leading the publication to review its relationship with the Pakistan licensee.
- The editor later apologized and blamed the tweets on anger over an ongoing case investigating rape and murder of a seven-year-old girl, which he was originally tweeting about.
- Newsweek has been having a rough patch, making questionable editorial decisions and being investigated by the Manhattan district attorney’s office.
An editor for Newsweek’s Pakistan edition came under fire on Tuesday after appearing to defend child abuse in the wake of an arrest in a grizzly child rape and murder case that unfolded in Pakistan’s Punjab province.
The editor, Fasih Ahmed, retweeted a Twitter thread urging due process for a man arrested and accused of raping and murdering a seven-year-old girl, and then Ahmed shared his own thoughts on the topic.
“The sexual abuse of children will always exist. You can never eliminate it. Sometimes it leads to great art. So there’s also that,” Ahmed tweeted. He later deleted the tweet.
“Child sexual abuse has always happened, is happening, and will always continue. Two days of outrage on Twitter and participating in a 10-person vigil may make you feel so noble but that’s all just about you, not those who’ve been victimized,” he continued.
After tremendous backlash on Twitter, with popular accounts like Alyssa Milano’s chiming in, Newsweek announced it would look critically at its Pakistan licensee due to Ahmed’s statements.
“Recent tweets by Newsweek Pakistan editor @therealfasih do not represent the views of @Newsweek. We are reviewing our relationship with @NewsweekPak, which operates under a license agreement,” the publication’s official account tweeted.
A Twitter account claiming to represent the Lahore Literature Festival then tweeted that Ahmed had resigned from the organization’s board.
On Wednesday, Ahmed apologized for his remarks, posting that his earlier tweets “were coming from anger, were poorly phrased, and misread.”
“I’m sorry to have upset the people who have survived child abuse,” he wrote. “I have been angry at the conspiracy of silence around this evil.”
Bigger problems at Newsweek
- Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Ahmed’s troubles at Newsweek Pakistan come a week after the US branch of the publication’s New York office was raided by the Manhattan district attorney for undisclosed reasons.
The week before, Newsweek published an article speculating about whether or not President Donald Trump suffered from erectile dysfunction which concluded by saying: “There’s no guarantee that Trump is or isn’t experiencing finasteride’s side effects; just that they’re a possibility.”
As a licensee, it’s fair to assume Newsweek’s Pakistan edition doesn’t reflect the views of its US publication.