American History XL : a reformed nazi skin’s new career as a food blogger is jeopardized when past discog.com purchases are made public. Starring Shia LaBeouf.
OK, that’s not happening. But under the headline, “Eater.com Editor Placed On Leave After Apologizing for Racist Punk Past”, Gawker’s J.K. Trotter dug into the musical history of Eater’s Nick Solares, aka English Nick of ’80’s NYHC Y.D.L. aka Youth Defense League. Shortly prior to said post, Solares had issued an apology and disavowal of his racist past (“I was a British kid who wound up falling in with a group of white-pride American nationalists, and while I was part of this group I believed the hateful things that they believed, and helped spread the message. I was the lead singer of a popular hardcore band and fed off — and indeed contributed to — the darker impulses of the scene,”), but not everybody’s inclined to forgive or forget, in particular, Grub Street’s Eddie Huang :
Eater is not all-powerful by any means, but the Solares story raises the question: Who is forming the identity of this industry? The people living in this city? The people cooking the food? The people serving us? Or the former skinhead assigning restaurant reviews? Helen Rosner, the site’s executive editor, compared it to shoplifting at the age of 23. There seems to be an unwillingness to examine potential bias or a willful misunderstanding of bias in his position and how it works.”
For those keeping score, Gawker’s zeal in recirculating Solares’ story is in very stark contrast to the online media company’s radio silence concerning the below photo of former Deadspin editor Will Leitch :
The photo in question has appeared on this site no fewer than 8 times since 2008, appearing for the first time several months before Leitch’s departure from Gawker Media. Leitch, whose tenure at Gawker went an awfully long way towards establishing Nick Denton’s commercial viability, faced zero questions about the photograph in questions, and nobody in the Nü Media landscape held his publisher to nearly the sort of scrutiny Eater’s parent company, Vox Media is experiencing today.
None of which is to say that Solares oughta be given a lifetime pass for hateful sentiments (or shitty music). But I don’t think Solares’ ascent in the world of food blogging (yes, I am typing those words with a straight face) is any more or less a commentary on institutionalized racism than Will Leitch’s teflon-face.
(ADDENDUM : kind of amazing timing from another Gawker property today).