‘Ebony’ Apologizes, Removes Genarlow Wilson Article After Fierce Backlash From Readers

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.

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  2. How about teaching your black daughters how to respect themselves.

  3. Ebony should not have caved to some shrilling man-hating zealots. What they should have done was pushed back hard on those fools by going to people with way more influence and clout to defend Genarlow. That What About Our Daughters blog is just a bunch of man-hating women that seek to destroy every black man. Ebony should have called in favors to the people with national shows and let Chandra do the rounds with them and squash that lil blog like a bug. Instead they believed that internet comments equated to some kind of national backlash.

  4. The article written was never meant to glorify his actions nor give him a sense of accolade for them. The article was meant to show that he was bouncing back from being wrongfully convicted when there was no true crime in the sense of the word.

    This you man made a bad decision and most of us are guilty of that. If someone was able to peel back our rap sheet of bad decisions, and demonize us by them, there wouldn’t be many of us that would not be in jail.

    Instead of looking at what the young man had been through and being happy for him that he has been given a second chance, it became an opportunity to slam both the publisher and the writer. Instead of reading about his desire to advocate for other to avoid his pitfall, you revel in the fact that people with journalism degrees aren’t true journalist?

    I say bravo to Ebony for doing it, and shame on you all for conveniently ignoring the fact that a tragedy was avoided. At least one young black male that made a mistake was and is still truly able to recover. The next time you talk about how there are no black men that aren’t in jail, remember that that is truly where you want them.

  5. I step back and say hmm when we are so un forgiving of others this countrys was built on 2nd chance people , but it seems that when someone black makes a mistake we wont them ruined (chris brown) and are very un forgiving.

  6. Wasn't the "d-licker" a white chick? That was the only reason he was given such a harsh sentence, though he was a minor at the time himself. Genarlow was neither notorious nor glorious, but GOOD GRIEF.. why would Ebony even bother to print such a story? They could have left that one alone… and some black dads could stand to stop dehumanizing black women themselves and look after their little teenage girls.

  7. Ebonycaved under pressure because a black man hating blog called “What about our daughters”made a big black man hating stink out of nothing.Please go in the blog and read some of the hate for black men that passes off as concerned for black girls.If these defacto lesbians really cared for black girls,they would be lecturing young girls to dress and carry themselves as ladies and to put sex off until marriage,and to stop bartering sex for food,car notes,purses,tution and jewelry.

    • @The Rain,

      Actually, the women who post at WHAT ABOUT OUR DAUGHTERS are not black-men-hating lesbians, despite your ridiculous claims.

      And, black girls need to be respected by black boys. Wilson should still be in jail after his conviction as a child molester. Hopefully, other black boys/men will learn from his story that you won’t get away with mistreating black girls/women. He had no business having oral sex with a 15-year old girl or having sex with an unconscious 17-year old.

      He’s not a hero. He’s a criminal.

  8. Rev. George Brooks

    The heads at Ebony and Jet magazines, including Linda Johnson Rice, Desiree Rogers, Amy Barnett and Mitzy Miller, are making a complete mess of the name, work and reputation of the late John H. Johnson, in every way. The female bunch made a mess with this Wilson character; have been firing workers during this bad economic period, to bring in pals of theirs; have sold the monumental building that Mr. Johnson built, sold stock to a bank headed by some white and Jew boys, and messed up $4 million dollars that Mr. Johnson has set aside that was to go to Howard University for a building there to be named in his honor, which will not be done now. And this writer and my associates are now blasting JPC left and right, and planning a call in the fall for advertisers to drop them, or face boycotts. UNLESS, they rehire the blacks that they have fired, follow through on the Howard project, and remove one or two of the females that are making the big mess, including Rogers for one. — Rev. George Brooks

  9. Ebony proved to everyone that having a degree in Journalism hardly qualifies one as a journalist if you completely disregard DOING YOUR HOMEWORK ON A SUBJECT!

    • i think ,, you got that correct, a degree isn’t assurance you can make sound judgements 100% OF THE TIME,

  10. There was no victory in this article at all under any circumstances and it never should have been considered period!