Brendan O’Connor, reporting on the pregnancy announcement of media mogul Michael Wolff, posted the following headline: “Michael Wolff’s Awful Girlfriend Is Pregnant.”
What makes 34-year-old writer Victoria Floethe so “awful”? She is having the baby of a man who is still married. Okay, so “awful.” Fair enough. But there seems to be one key detail missing from the headline and the narrative.
O’Connor talks about how Wolff’s divorce is still pending, about how he’s been separated from his attorney wife, Alison Anthoine, for five years. But all the ire he saves for Floethe. O’Connor sarcastically writes the following.
“After her relationship with the married Wolff was exposed, Floethe — a writer for Wolff’s information curation site Newser — wrote an essay for the Spectator casting herself as the victim of a moralizing New York gossip media and puritan Internet websites. Would she leave the city? Or would the free spirit flourish, despite (or perhaps even as a result of!) the haters?”
This didn’t sit well with many of the Gawker commenters because, the thinking goes, where is his culpability in the affair and the extramarital pregnancy?
“Wolff was in the wrong for having the affair (though I notice most of the criticism was on how Floethe destroyed his marriage vows, not him) Floethe was too – tho it would have been better if he’d divorced 1st, but we’dd be hearing the same exact stuff about how Floethe, and Floethe alone destroyed his marriage.”
“Yeah, because she’s the only awful one, right?”
“Agree!… Headline should definitely be: AWFUL Michael Wolff’s Awful Girlfriend is Pregnant.”
“Honestly not sure why she’s awful here. The married parties have been separated for five years. He’s trying to sue for divorce… Was she even around when they were cohabiting? Wondering if she has a point in regards to the puritan internet websites.”
The article, while not altogether wrong for casting some dispersions on Floethe for being willing to have a baby with a married man and with displaying something of an entitled air in her work, but why does he get a free pass?
It’s a question the website has yet to answer, but I’ll keep you posted if they do. What do you think, readers? Does Wolff deserve as much criticism as Floethe, and has Gawker let its sexism show through?