Over the final weekend of April, Chicago Sun-Times columnist Joe Cowley sent out a handful of sexist and demeaning messages over Twitter, commenting on female flight attendants and pilots. When Monday finally rolled around, Cowley's Twitter account had already been deleted, but his words are already forever imprinted on the Internet. Chicago Sun-Times editor-in-chief Jim Kirk responded to the incident on Tuesday.
Recently, a reporter in our newsroom, Joe Cowley, made offensive comments on his Twitter account, Kirk said. The Chicago Sun-Times is an institution with important social responsibilities, and we expect those who represent our paper to act with the respect and sensitivity that our readers deserve. Mr. Cowley's remarks were offensive and he has been reprimanded appropriately.
Deadspin managed to compile all of Cowley's tweets before his Twitter account, @cst_Cowley, was deleted. Read his original tweets here, but below are some excerpts of the offensive things he had to say:
Flight delayed because of 'Mandatory Crew Rest.' God forbid anyone strains themselves handing out orange juice off a cart for an extra hour.
I'm more likely to see a Squatch before I see a hot flight attendant. Then again, I think the airlines are hiring Squatch's to do that job.
Chick pilot. Should I be OK with that or am I just a sexist caveman?
Kid next to me looks like 'Short Round.' Think I'll give him a dollar to say to me, 'You cheat, Dr. Jones!' #firstclassproblems
When Sloane Martin, a female reporter for his same publication, decided to respond, that's where Cowley got into hotter water. First, she retweeted his chick pilot comment, adding an Oh Jesus beforehand. Then she responded in full:
@cst_Cowley yes I've heard female genitalia makes it impossible to properly operate such a complicated machine. Bet she has an agenda tokill
Cowley responded in a the most degrading way he could:
@SloaneMartin I have a feeling Sloane is the next unfollow. But it's a fact women followers stay attached to me longer. #MRHandsomeproblems
@SloaneMartin By the way Sloane, the chick pilot did good ... Even though she had to come back and ask for directions twice.
@SloaneMartin ... Although something tells me she knew where she was going ... Just more Mr. Handsome problems!
Martin's response to Cowley's comments:
@cst_Cowley that was just the classy and unapologetic response I expected from you. Guess I'm an outlier b/c I only made it through 3 days
Refusing to drop it, Cowley shoots back:
@SloaneMartin Three days? Not bad. And we didn't even get to debate what a joke Title IX is... Another time ... You'll be back. #cantquitme
And then he puts some icing on the cake:
@SloaneMartin And when you come back, hottie up that pic a bit more. You look like the Russian icy villain from a 70s Bond movie. XOXO.
Now that the Sun-Times editor-in-chief has responded to the situation, will Cowley lose his job?
It seems as though Kirk's comments on Cowley may have sufficed; Cowley will likely be suspended indefinitely, but he will likely return eventually as his act was not criminal.
It would be sad to see another Chicago sportswriter punished so much for bad behavior, but it wouldn't be the first time. Long-time Sun-Times sports columnist Jay Mariotti had a number of incidents where he was accussed of harassment and assault; after he quit the Sun-Times in 2010 and moved to Los Angeles, he was arrested on suspicion of a domestic altercation with his girlfriend. The fan favorite on ESPN's Pardon The Interruption has fallen off the face of the earth, and it looks like Cowley will soon do the same.
Cowley has been a polarizing figure in Chicago for some time, but recently on April 4, Cowley ranted about his hometown sports fans on Twitter, irking many in the process. The A.V. Club compiled his tweets into a single paragraph:
'You know what's amazing, Chicago.... you cry that Oz and Buehrle stories are in the past ....... ... yet most of you jamokes sprout semi-wood when they prop up one of the players from the '85 Bears. #hypocrites You choose to live in the past which validates your happiness, turn your back on what bothers you. That's the truth! When the fans of Chicago start acting like a major sports market maybe the teams will have to start accommodating them. #Ihaveadream Chicago fans are becoming more and more like Minnesota fan. Just sit back and let the team dictate your happiness. Just take it and like it! Forget Minnesota nice, it's now Midwest Nice. Wanna suck and raise our ticket prices? OK, where do I sign up?'
You could argue for or against Cowley. You could say his Twitter account is a conspiracy, or you could argue that the man got what's coming to him. Regardless, while Cowley may not be long for the Sun-Times, he will be back eventually. After all, who can resist Mr. Handsome?