Mike Carlton resigns after telling readers to f... off
FAIRFAX columnist Mike Carlton has resigned from his job after being threatened with suspension for a series of abusive responses he wrote to readers blasting him over a column on Israel.
The Sydney Morning Herald columnist's article was critical of Israel's actions in the conflict with Gaza.
Fairfax's director of news and business media, Sean Aylmer, told media the issue was not with the column itself but the way Carlton responded to readers in emails and on social media.
"[The column] attracted a lot of criticism. Many readers wrote to Mike - what got him into trouble was the way he responded to those readers," he said.
"It was totally inappropriate, using inappropriate language."
Darren Goodsir, the editor in chief of SMH and The Sun-Herald published an apology on Fairfax's websites.
"I have become aware that Mike Carlton has corresponded with some Herald readers and letter writers using inappropriate and offensive language.
"This behaviour is completely unacceptable.
"I have asked Mike to apologise for these actions. Mike regrets his behaviour and will be contacting affected readers to apologise.
"On behalf of the Herald, I too apologise for any offence caused."
"In dealing with our readers, it is a basic principle that our staff, columnists and contributors should always behave with respect and courtesy."
Carlton resigned on the spot after he was threatened with suspension when more email emerged.
Confirming I have quit the SMH, sad that a once great newspaper has buckled to the bullies. Thanks for your support...maintain the rage.— Mike Carlton (@MikeCarlton01) August 5, 2014
Carlton confirmed on Twitter this morning that he had left the newspaper, saying he was "sad that a once great newspaper has buckled to the bullies".
"After a fortnight of being called Nazi, Jew-hating slime, I told a few people to f*** off. We do that in this country occasionally," one tweet said.
The row comes after Fairfax was only this week forced to apologise over a cartoon about the conflict in Gaza.
The cartoon depicted an elderly man adorned in Jewish symbols pointing at the site of a bombing with a remote control.
The Australian Press Council received several complaints about the cartoon, which Federal Attorney-General George Brandis described it as "deplorable".
Fairfax apologised in an editorial published on Monday, the ABC reported.
"The Herald now appreciates that, in using the Star of David and the kippah in the cartoon, the newspaper invoked an inappropriate element of religion, rather than nationhood, and made a serious error of judgment," the editorial said.
"It was wrong to publish the cartoon in its original form.
"We apologise unreservedly for this lapse, and the anguish and distress that has been caused.
"Our commitment remains to reporting in a fair and balanced way on the appalling events in Israel and Gaza."