Dear Harris Publications President and CEO Stanley R. Harris,
I am writing to ask that you fire XXL Editor-in-Chief Vanessa Satten for providing a platform for dangerous rhetoric that dehumanizes and demeans girls and young women. Under Satten’s leadership, XXL has become a place that promotes violent fantasies involving aggressive, hypersexual boys and preteen girls. I ask that you intervene now.
As you know, the XXL website posted a video interview with rapper Too $hort, who encouraged teenage boys to “turn girls out” by pushing “her up against the wall.” The 45-year-old rapper continued, graphically urging his audience to put their hands inside the underwear of middle school aged girls in order to achieve what he called “mind manipulation.” Your company, XXL, packaged the disturbing monologue under the headline, “Fatherly Advice From Too $hort.”
Rhetoric like this has real effects on girls in our communities. Three out of five Black girls have experienced sexual assault by the time they turn 18. Nearly a third of sexual assault and rape victims are between the ages of 12-17.
I am aware that the magazine has issued a vague apology, but that does not go far enough to hold Satten, the staff’s leader, accountable. It also does nothing to explain what you will do to make sure that sexual violence directed at girls and women is no longer promoted by XXL, King or any of your media companies.
Please act now to remove Satten from her post at XXL and explain what Harris Publications plans to do to make sure your audience isn’t again subjected to rhetoric that characterizes girls and women as playthings who can be fondled and otherwise abused whenever a boy or man pleases.