Monmouth County, Lakewood pull ads to punish Asbury Park Press for offensive caption
The fallout from the Asbury Park Press' offensive caption continues with Monmouth County government becoming the latest to pull their legal advertising from the newspaper.
The Monmouth County Commissioners will take vote at their Thursday night meeting to require all county offices, departments, commissions and authorities to use only the Star-Ledger for legal advertising, according to the agenda posted on the county website.
The offensive caption read: "A f**king hot nurse, a total JAP, loads a syringe with a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine during in the Center for Health Education, Medicine and Dentistry vaccination tent in Lakewood, New Jersey, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021," according to a screenshot posted by the New Jersey Globe.
The term JAP was understood to mean an acronym for Jewish American Princess, which is considered a slur because it plays off anti-Jewish stereotypes.
The Monmouth County resolution says county policy is to "discourage and denounce sexist and anti-Semitic acts in their entirety."
At their meeting on Wednesday night, the Lakewood Board of Education voted to break all ties with the Asbury Park Press following an apology at the start of the meeting from Executive Editor Paul D’Ambrosio who attended the meeting via Zoom with other members.
D’Ambrosio said an employee who is no longer employed by the newspaper or parent company Gannett “made a bad decision” and extended apologies to the community, the school board, the students, the teachers and to anyone who saw the caption.
“It shocked me, it shocked my staff. My staff was saddened by it and outraged by it and it’s not us," D’Ambrosio said.
The board later in the meeting voted unanimously to pull their legal advertising from the newspaper and to "end all interactions."
"What occurred this past Sunday is not an isolated incident. This is just one of a series of offensive acts the only difference being this was blatant and, inadvertently, self exposed. Targeting women, targeting heroes (nurses and medical professionals ), targeting Jews, targeting overall American culture was the alleged norm not the exception. Despicable," the board said in a joint statement.
Lakewood Mayor Raymond Coles said the township will vote on a similar resolution at its meeting on April 8.
Democratic Assemblywoman Joann Downey said the caption caused the Asbury Park Press to break its trust with the public, something that will take a while to rebuild.
“The APP needs to be held accountable for their actions, and continuously improve its system to ensure its staffers understand the magnitude of their words whether those words are intended to be published or not," Downey said.