AP Editor Defends Firing Emily Wilder Over Pro-Palestinian Tweets: 'Credibility Is at Stake'

Associated Press managing editor Brian Carovillano on Sunday stood by the firing Emily Wilder over pro-Palestinian tweets after more than 100 staffers released an open letter condemning the move.

In an appearance on CNN's Reliable Sources, Carovillano told host Brian Stelter that Wilder, a 22-year-old news associate, was dismissed because "she had a series of social media posts that showed a clear bias toward one side and against another in one of the most divisive and difficult stories that we cover anywhere in the world."

Carovillano said Wilder's firing was a "difficult decision, it was not an easy decision, and it was not a personal decision, and we wish her all the best."

"It was a unanimous decision among some senior managers at the AP," he continued. "It's really important that we maintain our credibility on these stories, and journalist safety is at stake and the AP's credibility is at stake and our credibility is under constant attack from the right and the left, from foreign governments and sometimes even from the U.S. government."

Carovillano explained that the AP's "social media guidelines exist to protect that credibility because protecting our credibility is the same as protecting our journalists."

AP managing editor Brian Carovillano on firing
AP managing editor Brian Carovillano on Sunday defended the outlet's decision to fire Emily Wilder over pro-Palestinian tweets. CNN Screenshot

Wilder's employment with the media organization was terminated on May 19, less than three weeks after she started with the company.

The decision came after the Stanford College Republicans (SCR) publicly criticized the AP's decision to hire Wilder after she led an organization called "Stanford Students for Justice in Palestine."

"The Associated Press' anti-Israel bias should come as no surprise, as they are literally staffing their offices with hardened anti-Israel activists," the group wrote in a Facebook post.

In a statement last Saturday, Wilder, who's Jewish, said the conservative group "launched a smear campaign against me, attempting to 'expose' my already-public history of activism for Palestinian human rights at Stanford University."

Wilder also said she disclosed her previous activism to AP editors "and they reassured me I would not face punishment... I was told my editors were only hoping to support me as I received an onslaught of sexist, antisemitic, racist and violent comments and messages."

On Monday, over 100 AP staffers sent an open letter to the outlet criticizing the company's "handling" of Wilder's dismissal and "its dayslong silence internally."

"We strongly disapprove," the letter read. "We demand more clarity from the company about why Wilder was fired. It remains unclear—to Wilder herself as well as staff at large—how she violated the social media policy while employed by the AP."

Newsweek reached out to Emily Wilder and the AP for further comment. This story will be updated with any response.