by Yvette Carnell
For those who don’t remember, Genarlow Wilson was released from prison in 2007 after spending more than two years in jail for a teen sex conviction. The Georgia Supreme Court ordered that he be released, ruling 4-3 that his sentence was cruel and unusual punishment. Wilson was convicted in 2005 of having oral sex with a consenting 15-year-old girl when he was 17.
So when the editors at Ebony.com decided to do a feature on Wilson entitled, “Notorious to Glorious: Genarlow Wilson is No Child Molester and Never Was”, I’m sure they thought it would go over well with their readers. They couldn’t have been more wrong.
Problem is, even though Genarlow Wilson wasn’t found guilty of rape,video from that night shows he and his friends taking turns having sex with a 17 year old girl, who appeared intoxicated, as well as Genarlow having oral sex with a consenting 15 year old. Those acts were not criminal, but Genarlow’s behavior certainly isn’t something that Ebony should’ve celebrated, and so the backlash was swift and fierce, forcing Ebony.com to take the article down.
Ebony.com originally tried to smooth things over with an apology, but that was also taken down as well after strong criticism. Here is the Ebony apology in its entirety:
At EBONY.com, in particular, we are largely a female editorial team and we take pride in our consistently progressive stance on women’s issues. To suggest otherwise, simply means that you are not familiar with this website. To any who would charge EBONY.com with being “apologists” for Black men, you are wrong.
However, in our opinion (based on our writer’s original reporting and her eyewitness account of watching the videotape), Wilson is neither a rapist, nor a “child molester.”
The teen that performed the sexual act on Wilson and his friends confessed to doing it voluntarily and while sober, and she stood by her story.
Again, we sincerely regret the hurt and offense we may have caused any of our readers. We hear you, we respect you and we are you. We appreciate your passionate and honest criticism. We have changed the titleof this story, we ask your understanding, and we genuinely hope that even if you disagree with our take here, that you will continue to enjoy and engage with EBONY.com.