The infamous Toronto Sun columnist implied something untrue about the American president on Twitter, then tried to undo the damage without apologizing.
Last night, during the broadcast of the third and final US presidential debate, Toronto Sun city columnist Sue-Ann Levy was on Twitter. As usual, her tweets were combative. Levy always espouses what most would consider to be a conservative point of view, and she’s not afraid of challenging those who hold different opinions. Most of the time, there’s nothing wrong with that.
Except on this particular occasion, Levy did what she periodically does: she wrote something misleading and ethically questionable, and then, when challenged, responded with ad-hominem attacks and attempts to change the subject.
The tweet that started it all is screencapped above. Note the hashtag, where Levy appears to imply that Barack Obama is a Muslim. This is a classic bit of far-right cant that emerged during Obama’s initial rise to prominence as a presidential candidate. It seems meant to characterize him as someone who doesn’t have America’s best interests at heart. (Because anyone who would believe it would also believe that all Muslims despise the US.)
In fact, it’s bullshit: Obama is a Christian.
When confronted with this information, Levy was her usual charming self. Within hours, she became the centre of a Twitter brawl involving several users, many of whom were Levy’s fellow City Hall reporters and newspaper columnists. She never admitted to being in the wrong, but did attempt to contain the damage in her own way. A Storify of some of the exchange is below.
We asked James Wallace, editor-in-chief of the Sun, if the paper will reprimand Levy for her tweets. He has said he’ll get back to us, and we’ll update when he does.
And here’s a written statement from James Wallace:
Sue-Ann was on holiday watching the presidential debate and expressed her views in a tweet.
The tweet also included an inappropriate hashtag that could be subject to misinterpretation.
She did not intend the hashtag to appear racist.
Her views do not reflect the views of the Toronto Sun or Sun Media.