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NY Times Magazine journalist lambastes Barrett for being a working mother, then backtracks

Journalist Vanessa Grigoriadis was berated as sexist after writing on Twitter: "I guess one of the things I don't understand about Amy Coney Barrett is how a potential Supreme Court justice can also be a loving, present mom to seven kids?"

Updated: September 28, 2020 - 8:51am

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A New York Times Magazine journalist lambasted Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett over being a working mother - but backtracked her jabs after being heckled on Twitter. 

Vanessa Grigoriadis, who writes about sexual power dynamics for a number of major media outlets, on Saturday wrote a series of tweets that seemed to imply that a woman could not simultaneously work and be a loving mother. After garnering nearly 18,000 responses - many of them sharply critical - Grigoriadis tweeted that Barrett is "an inspiration and a girl boss."

The sequence unfolded on Sept. 26, shortly after President Donald Trump announced Barrett as his official choice for Supreme Court justice, to fill the spot vacated by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. 

Grigoriadis quickly weighed in about the nomination, posting her views on social media.

"I guess one of the things I don't understand about Amy Coney Barrett is how a potential Supreme Court justice can also be a loving, present mom to seven kids?" Grigoriadus wrote on Twitter. "Is this like the Kardashians stuffing nannies in the closet and pretending they've drawn their own baths for their kids."

The writer then tweeted a critique that brought in Barrett's religion:

"And if there aren't enough hours in the day for her to work and mother those kids, when she portrays herself as a home-centered Catholic who puts family over career, isn't she telling a lie?"

Twitter users quickly posted counter-critiques, accusing Grigoriadis of denigrating working women, and of being sexist and anti-religious.

Wrote one woman: "So you’re saying a mom can’t be a professional? I had 2 children in medical school, 1 in residency, one immediately after. I have 4 emotionally healthy married adult children raising their own families now. A strong marriage and a strong faith in God was important in the process."

Others pointed out that such commentary would not be allowed in a job interview, and that the issue was not raised about Justice Antonin Scalia, who had nine children.

Grigoriadis soon changed her position.

"Anyway, more power to ACB and her ability to raise 7 kids," she wrote. "My only problem with her is that I believe she’ll make abortion illegal, destroy any chance for national childcare, and gut healthcare. But besides that she is an inspiration and a girl boss."

Twitter users again responded with skepticism.

"Nice save!" wrote one man. "But let's do even better. Congratulate Judge Barrett on her professional success and her loving family and praise her as an inspiration to all Americans.  And remind the American public that the Supreme Court doesn't have those powers and they should look to Congress."

In 2019, the celebrity Madonna claimed she felt "raped" by a 2019 profile Grigoriadis wrote about her for the New York Times Magazine. The article focused disproportionately on Madonna's age, the singer reportedly claimed, and proved that the New York Times is ‘one of the founding fathers of the Patriarchy.’

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