Home News Feed Psychology Today Apologizes For Racist “Study”

Psychology Today Apologizes For Racist “Study”

by Erika Nicole Kendall

So… once upon a time… Psychology Today posts this.

…and then, they apologized:

Last week, a blog post about race and appearance by Satoshi Kanazawa was published–and promptly removed–from this site. We deeply apologize for the pain and offense that this post caused. Psychology Today’s mission is to inform the public, not to provide a platform for inflammatory and offensive material. Psychology Today does not tolerate racism or prejudice of any sort. The post was not approved by Psychology Today, but we take full responsibility for its publication on our site. We have taken measures to ensure that such an incident does not occur again. Again, we are deeply sorry for the hurt that this post caused.

~Kaja Perina, Editor in Chief

So… what now? Do we think they’ve acknowledged the err of their ways? Do you think there’s more punishment to be doled out? Will you visit their site or support them again? What do you think?

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CurlieGirlie May 29, 2011 - 8:46 PM

While I appreciate the apology, I can’t help but feel that it is a little belated, you know? I think it would have been much more meaningful if they had issued this apology immediately after removing the article, instead of almost two weeks after the post was put up. It makes it feel less sincere, somehow.

Also, just wondering, how long did it take for them to remove the post? To my understanding, it was up for around 24 hours before it was finally taken down. And who was responsible for the multiple title changes? Psychology Today, or Kanasawa? If PT participated in trying to make the title “more acceptable” to the public, instead of immediately removing the article altogether, that’s definitely a problem; then we have to deal with the idea that they knowingly allowed a very racist article to stay on their site, tried to sugar coat that racist article for the public, and then apologized only after weeks of public outrage.

If they truly had no idea about this post, removed it as soon as they possibly could, and are making SIGNIFICANT changes in the way they run their magazine, then I guess I can accept their apology. People make mistakes…even gigantic mistakes like this one. I just hope it doesn’t happen again.

Rhea May 30, 2011 - 8:35 AM

I am a little hesitant to move on from this incident simply because it wasn’t isolated. This man has made a habit out of making bigoted and inflammatory statements, and he has made Psychology Today his platform. And despite their apology, they let him have his platform. This isn’t just an issue about race for me. It’s about the fact that Psychology Today lets him post incredibly outrageous comments about anyone who is not like him under the guise of scientific expertise. It’s not right. They say their making changes, but it’s not over ’till it’s over. And it’s not over until they fire him.

Melanee May 29, 2011 - 9:40 PM

I can say that I read an article today and it referred to the “Psychology Today” as a reference and it immediately discredited the article for me.

Ambrosia May 30, 2011 - 2:15 AM

Even before this horrible article was posted I had heard nothing but bad about Psychology Today. I was already skipping articles that had anything to do with them long before this incident and I plan to keep staying away from them. Based on their track record I’m sure they’ll post something horrible in a matter of time.

Andrea Plaid May 30, 2011 - 9:34 AM

I’ve never looked at Psychology Today as more than “filler reading” in a waiting room. It’s the popularization of the psychology field; it’s psychology for laypeople. And I have great friends and acquaintances, both on- and offline, who regularly write for PT’s blogs. They’re not psychologists with an alphabet soup behind their names; just people with some common sense, a passion for social justice, and great writing. However, I’ve read online that some college psych courses do use PT as part of their reading list.

Though some people have reported that PT really doesn’t have a editor/gatekeeper who looks at the blog posts before they go live–which is probably the basis of this apology’s “it wasn’t me” tone–I’m not believing this for a minute. Most blogs, especially multi-contributor blogs, have someone who at least glances at the posts before they go up. This goes for those who don’t pay the contribs and those who do. What these gatekeepers ensure is, if nothing else, the post fits into the writing style of the blog and, on a greater level, that what’s being said fits into the blog’s “brand” and “mission.” And PT is too big a brand to let this mess go through without a second glance. I think the editorial staff knew what they were getting when they hired Kanazawa to write for the blog. And I think they knowing let his garbage slide, probably praying that it wouldn’t bite them in the bottom. It did, and here we are.

Honestly, Psychology Today has shredded whatever is left of their reputation with Kanazawa’s writing, their association with him (I haven’t heard yet if the editor/CEO/HR fired Kanazawa), and this apology. I know there’s a student-led movement at London School of Economics, where Kanazawa is on the staff, to fire him over his work, esp. this “I can ‘scientifically’ prove that Black women are ugly” crap. I think PT would do well to get rid of Kanazawa, too.

Daphne May 30, 2011 - 2:27 PM

It’s about the fact that Psychology Today lets him post incredibly outrageous comments about anyone who is not like him under the guise of scientific expertise.

Yep, that pretty much sums it up for me as well. But I never read Psychology Today anyway, so it’s no effort to not support the publication. Especially now that I know that their articles aren’t peer-reviewed – that’s a much larger problem, given that they cover all manner of topics.

TheOutlawJosie May 31, 2011 - 11:43 AM

There’s just so much “…wait what?” here. I can’t imagine anyone being wholly satisfied by this apology – as other folks have already noted, it’s being released two weeks after publication, and this jerk has a history of writing racist junk while maintaining his platform at PT.

To get more specific, what the heck is this?: “The post was not approved by Psychology Today, but we take full responsibility for its publication on our site.” Did the article suddenly self-generate on their website? It’s good that they do take full responsibility, but what do they mean “the post was not approved”? Someone needed to click “post” or “submit” or “go” or whatever. This is actually a sincere question…it may be a consequence of PT’s website operations, i.e. certain approved bloggers have independent control. If that’s the case, a.) it kind of just returns us to the “why is PT giving someone with a marketing degree who is noted for his racist junk a platform” problem, and b.) I hope it prompts them to reconsider the permissions they grant to their writers.

Curlstar May 31, 2011 - 11:47 AM

PT, lesson learned. Review the articles completely, not just the first para.

Teri January 30, 2012 - 2:26 PM

Could the scientist’s study be a form of projection? With so many Asian women dating/marrying outside their ethnicities at disproportionately high numbers, maybe his next study should be “Why do Asian women find Asian men so unattractive”?

Cami January 31, 2012 - 3:02 PM

If they had learned their lesson, they would have learned it this summer when Kanazawa posted some other racist dribble about African-American women being the least attractive, other anti-feminist/anti-women crap, and also self-hating mess where he argued that the Japanese deserved to be bombed at Hiroshima. He uses inflammatory, incendiary language to get a rise out of his audience and make a career for himself. And the person whose fronting the apologies for PT, HA. Kanazawa and Kara Parina have done studies together. Google it.

PT used that crap, empty excuse in the past, “Oh, we can’t/don’t check our blog posts before they go out.” Bullsh@%. I write/edit for a media publication that releases materials for an organization. They have a content management system where they can scroll through essays/blogs. And they’ve known Kanazawa has written this same crap before, so they should know the game by now, to check.

Even when people write blog posts, we check them, because we know that anything that is released under our branding has to be checked before releasing it for public consumption. Associated Press Style is checked, wording is rechecked and double checked to make sure it’s not too controversial. I’m sure their “scholars” check their papers for editing; before, they’re sent to journals.And PT’s trying to tell the public their too stupid to check their writers’ stuff. Child please.

But, I digress. We’re giving PT exactly what they want: more publicity.

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