On Playboy and the Firing of Tommy Christopher

Note: I will do a separate post to thanks everyone for their generosity and support.  My gratitude is indescribable.

Wow, it’s been a crazy 30 hours or so.  There’s been a lot written about my firing, and I don’t want to waste time duplicating that, but I’ll list the links after the cut.  Here’s what I would add.

This firing was the decision of the Editor in Chief of Politics Daily alone.  I’ve spoken with several people inside the AOL organization, lateral to her and up, and without veering into off-the-record stuff, they are supportive of me and my work, and those relationships remain intact.  Yes, even with all of this publicity, which has been unreal.

I also want to say that, as Editor in Chief, Melinda Henneberger has every right and authority to dismiss me for any reason.  This isn’t about legality.

Conversely, I have a right to protect my reputation, and to disseminate facts relevant to that.  I want people to know some things.

#1. There was no profanity in my original Playboy story for Politics Daily, although this was the reason given for its deletion.  I embellished the reasoning when republishing it to shield my employer from criticism.

#2. My work for AOL has been consistently of high quality, and my role has been as much straight journalist as commentator.

#3. My work has driven the overwhelming share of AOL’s external traffic for the past year or so.

#4. Up until the minute I was fired, Politics Daily’s editorial staff was working actively to expand my role with the site, not end it.

I can’t say exactly why this happened, as none of the shifting rationales (publicly) given for my firing make any sense.  Given the facts documented in the articles written on the subject, and facts that I can’t share on the record, I have no doubt that the Playboy article was the true catalyst for my firing.

Here are links to stories that have been written about this.  Your clicks tell theses editors that his story is important to you. (Compiled by @katedoak. Thank you!) Copy and paste, sorry!














  1. One closed door opens another, babe 😉 We love you!

  2. […] Click here to read the rest of his post. Filed under: Bobos In Paradise, Capitalism, the Unknown Ideal, Liberal Fascism, Oh, That Liberal Media!, The Memory Hole, The New Puritans […]

  3. In times like this, it has to feel good to have friends like you have. Truly inspiring to see the way good people have rallied around you. That says a lot about your character and is proof enough that better things will undoubtedly lie ahead for you.
    “Sound character provides the power with which a person may ride the emergencies of life instead of being overwhelmed by them. ” Og Mandino

  4. How can Melinda Henneberger defend that call? You were DEFENDING human honor, pointing out some ugly BS Doing The Right Thing. She fired you to defend AOL’s relationship with PLAYBOY?? Not illegal maybe, but reeeeeal fukkt up.

  5. It’s reassuring to see that occasionally stupid does hurt.

  6. That didn’t come out right. I was referring to AOL losing all that traffic in context of their much publicized woes.

  7. […] UPDATE: Tommy Christopher goes on the record about AOL, read it HERE […]

  8. It’s too late to save your reputation .

    Anyone who calls for the rape of women should be fired. But don’t worry, I’m sure Obama will appoint you as czar to the rape victims of the UN.

    Free speech is alive and well, what morons on the left have to learn is that it has consequences.

    have fun finding a gig during the Obama administration.

  9. Better put a sweater on; it’s getting pretty chilly out there!

    Any professional journalist worth his or her salt would be actively demonstrating their outrage at this travesty and supporting their fellow scribe. Alas, it’s left to the volunteers. This type of behavior is becoming more and more common and therefore, more and more mainstream and innocuous. Spooky and troubling.

  10. Oriana,

    You have it backward. He did not call for rape, he exposed Playboy for doing so. That is why he was fired.

    Wise up!

  11. Yeah, what Mike B said. Oriana, possibly you might take the time to figure out what’s going on before you feel the need to comment. Morons on both sides of the aisle need to learn that free speech is alive and well. Tommy’s reputation is doing just fine. If I were in your place, I might be a little worried about my reputation.

  12. OK, who the fuck is Oriana and why the fuck can’t he or she read?

    I posted this on Christines article but I don’t want you to miss it. Could come in handy. If you don’t like this one I have enough crack to crank out a couple more!
    Good luck, T. Remember, the glass IS half full so if you pick it up and throw it against the wall, water will go go everywhere. Keep this in mind, it’s always helped me through times of trouble.

    Tommy Christopher Foundation PSA:
    Voice over: Every night, writers in New Jersey go to bed hungry. Hungry, cold and sober.
    (Camera pans close over debris strewn urban sidewalk. Tommys shoes come in frame. Slow pan up to Tommys face. His expression is sad but determined.
    Voice over: Thousands of writers roam the streets of Passaic looking for beer cans, a warm place to sleep and publication opportunities.
    (Cut to Tommy sitting at a fold up table in a homeless services center. A motivational poster featuring a cat is visible over his shoulder)
    Tommy: “I don’t know how much longer I can hold on. I don’t sleep well. My doctor prescribed Xanax. It helps a little. Oh yeah, the kids. They’re hungry too, I guess.”
    (Exterior of homeless center. Camera lingers over the entrance. Middle aged men with shopping carts, laptops and pained expressions. Camera pulls back showing the whole desolate street, pans up to the horizon to show the sun rising. It becomes increasingly brighter and the sky begins to turn blue)
    The strains of an old Stephen Foster tune begins to swell. French horn.
    Voice over: Can you sleep well at night knowing that Tommy and so many others like him are wandering the streets, just looking for a way that they can contribute? A place where they can find love, shelter, and be paid a reasonable amount of money per word…
    You can contribute a portion of your unemployment check to Tommy simply by checking off the ‘Help Tommy’ box on your NJ State Unemployment form (note to producer, call the Governor. Is this doable?)
    Fade to black

  13. Crank to crack out a couple more?

  14. Free speech? Fuck that, I need the green!

  15. Oriana needs to get her head out of dickless cheney’s chuckle side and come to the realization that the firing of Tommy Christopher shows that certain media outlets do not believe in the concept of free speech. Isn’t it just ironic that the media which relies upon the 1st Amendment can so easily discard it when they decide to silence someone who may have pissed them off.

    AOL sucks. I don’t know why I’ve had them as my primary email provider for the past 15 years. Perhaps it is time I got off my buttcheeks and did the right thing by telling Melinda Henneberger to stop acting like such a tool. And it’s time I stopped reading Politics Daily – something I’ve done for a length of time. Oh, and those advertisers… they are next.

    No, I’m not ticked. But I am pissed off.

  16. Melinda Henneberger is a fascist. Until she is fired there will be no further support of AOL or PlayBoy or Time Warner by me.

    Get out, Melinda Henneberger. Get out.

  17. I didn’t know there was some kind of relationship between AOL and Playboy. Is that the case? Ignorant me. Is AOL as dessictaed as Hugh Heffner?

  18. Links aren’t hot.

  19. You condoned rape of people you don’t like. Duh, you’re fired. Rally ’round the rapist!

  20. Oriana obviously didn’t take the time to find out what she was commenting on. I think that happens A LOT lately. Anyway, from what I’ve heard, you and I certainly wouldn’t agree politically on much, but thank you for standing up to Playboy and pointing out the plain wrongness of their article. Women on all sides should applaud you for that and it’s appaling to me that one prominent one, your boss, didn’t have the stones to do so. So thanks again, you have integrity and a spine and that combo is very rare indeed these days.

  21. That’s almost as alliterative as it is butt-dumb. Mr. realist person. On another note though is Melinda Henneberger not gonna be held accountable for crashing external traffic? That’s not the easiest thing to generate. It’s not like *internal* AOL traffic is some kind of valuable demographic. She seems like a very disturbed woman to be so hypocritical and creepy. On the other hand AOL as a place to work is a loser magnet anyway and it’s nice for the rest of the Internet companies that these ones have someplace else to work so they don’t pollute the cultures of less-dorky companies.

  22. It is sad that any journalists that still have a lick of integrity and credibility are cast aside. And the big news outlets wonder why their fishwraps are failing en-mass. It’s was suicide Doc.

    Sorry to hear that you were terminated by a shallow, scum-drenched pile of filth. A pox on her and her family.

  23. PS this guy exposed the playboy mess… christ… do you people READ the stories Ed and Michelle post on their blogs? Those of you harping on the man who was fired because playboy is being run by a pack of hippocritical misogonests and is being protected by AOL need to sit down and fucking READ the whole story here. Your hate should be channeled at AOL and playboy, not the one lone lefty journalist with enough integrity to come out and say: “THIS IS WRONG.”

  24. oh. I’m not at all certain she’s a shallow, scum-drenched pile of filth except for being a dirty socialist but so is the person she fired so that doesn’t explain this dealio. I think she’s besotted with the dirty socialist penchant for shaping the message is all. Probably fancies herself a player. Journalism in Barack Obama’s America is a depraved and twisted thing.

  25. So heartwarming to see supposedly respectable media folks doubling down on the crass promotion of sexual violence against women.

  26. The RoninEdge;

    I couldnt agree more. As Peggy said above, it is truely scary that Free Speech is dying and both people on the right and the left seem cool with that as long as its not there ox being gored. What is most troubling is the people (The press) that should Champion this cause are the ones responsible for stifling it.

  27. There are some thoughtful comments here! But, on the other hand, others like Orianna and realist evidently need refresher courses in reading comprehension. Ugh.

    FITZI !!!! How are you, babe?! What a sight for sore eyes you are. I read your “screenplay” aloud to Tommy and you had him LOLing….and you know how difficult that is to accomplish (especially now 😉 GREAT SATIRE! I can see you haven’t lost your touch. XOXO.

  28. Gerry….Tommy didn’t have time to put up hot links when he posted this article, as he had three back-to-back internet radio shows to join in on. He said he’ll try to find the time later to do so, but in the meantime, you’d need to copy and paste them (sorry). Thanks!

  29. Hi Diana! Great to see ya!
    It looks like Denise has got the axe too. Here are the pertinent comments from hennebergers article misinterpreting Obamas wonderful speech in Cairo.

    6:03PM Jun 5th 2009
    Just read on HuffPost blog someone claiming to be Denise Williams just got from fired from Politics Daily…….she stated the reason behind the firings is that Melinda Henneberger is making room for her original staff.

    MELINDA: You may have bought some new traffic with you…but surely you will lose a lot of the original Political Machine traffic that these writers generated. A sad day for journalism.
    RATE THIS COMMENT:Vote UpVote DownBad (1)

    7:05PM Jun 5th 2009
    Yeah, that was me.
    RATE THIS COMMENT:Vote UpVote DownVery Bad (0)
    7:46PM Jun 5th 2009
    Denise is gone too? It’s obvious that Michelle kept the old staff for a while to ease the transition by keeping the old readers around, then started loading up with laid off journalists.
    Look, if we had wanted the same old shit we wouldn’t have bothered with bloggong or bloggers now, would we?

    Once the AOL red neck trailer park shit heels are confronted with NY Times has beens they will stay away in droves. Those guys have always been what drove AOLs numbers, which WERE pretty phenomenal. She is SOOOOOOO screwed.
    RATE THIS COMMENT:Vote UpVote DownVery Bad (0)

    7:50PM Jun 5th 2009
    Denise! Condolences dear. We’re all watching the house fall down.
    I hate the idea of those pukes from the gray old ghost NY Times (a tarnished lady, a soiled, fat gray dove) plying their trade here.
    Best of luck and let’s see what shakes out. Could be gooder!

  30. You were a scapegoat Tommy… that’s all there is too it I’m afraid. You pointed out the leak in the dam and the damn manager fired you.

    But you have my support. I only hope you find a job too.

  31. You know, I just have to say this-Fuck the NY Times! They squandered their position and in the process brought journalism into the shit pit with them, Think about the election coverage. The Enquirer actually had more veracity that the fucking times! Plagarism, libel, fraud, big stories touted loudly only to find them based on hear say and UNATTRIBUTED QUOTES. Then they laid off henneberger.
    Fuck ’em!

  32. Playboy “hatef**k” list fallout: AOL did what?

  33. Tommy,
    Who does Melinda Henneberger answer to at AOL…..I would like to write a letter of complaint against her.

  34. Here’s melidas mug shot. Somebody at Malkins site posted it.

  35. Jason Linkin (don’t you love that name?) has more on the Playboy/AOL angle. I’m now officially melding that with my NYTimes theory.

    “One of the broader questions here is whether or not the article’s deletion and Christopher’s firing stem from the fact that Playboy Magazine is a property of Time Warner, AOL’s corporate partner. What muddies those waters is the fact that Time Warner has announced plans to spin off AOL by the end of the year. CORRECTION: I have been offered a clarification on this point: “Playboy is a standalone company, and not at all affiliated with Time Warner.” My apologies, call this a correction to the correction: NewsBusters has what appears to be “a marketing and distribution contract between Time Warner and Playboy’s print division” that “establishes a working relationship from January 2006 through January 2009.” The contract copy is being hosted by a website called OneCLE, who have confirmed that “the contract was taken from Playboy’s SEC filings.”

    As of this writing, the precise rationale behind Christopher’s firing is not known. But it’s really difficult to imagine an alternative conclusion that doesn’t involve Christopher’s criticism of the Cimbalo piece.

    I would have to imagine that it would be nearly impossible to justify sacking a productive reporter for the sake of defending another publication’s graphic depiction of women being “hate fucked.” But here’s my email, Melinda Henneberger, editor-in-chief of AOL’s Politics Daily! You may feel free to jolly well give it your best shot!

    UPDATE: Newsbusters has a screenshot of an email from AOL editor Michael Kraskin to Elizabeth Blackney, who submitted this question, “does Playboy empower or exploit women,” to AOL’s Hot Seat Poll. Kraskin’s response read:

    Do you happen to have another article/question we could use? This Playboy story is something we have internally decided not to address.”

  36. From Denise Williams, posted on that henneberger article. I missed it earlier.

    6:46PM Jun 5th 2009
    Lulu – I was also let go yesterday. All of the original Political Machine writers, excepting Weber and Knowles who are also editors, are all gone now.

  37. Hello again Mr. Christopher,.

    I kind of drifted away after finding you a few months back, but I see your name come up more and more often on the web. You have a serious reputation among the right as an honest man of integrity, even if we don’t agree with your politics. That’s no small accomplishment,. to earn so much respect from your political opponents like that.

    If only some on your own side treated you as well.

    We’ll probably never vote the same, but you have done well. Personal honor isn’t much apreciated it seems, but you’d have made a good officer Mr. Christopher.

    you do your profession proud sir, really you do.

  38. Nice message, markde.

    The problem with some on “ourside” they behave as some of those on “yourside” that can only see in one dimension. All they see is something that is not the “norm”. To them, Tommy is too friendly toward the other side, and they just can’t have that. Its the same as when yourside, gets all huffy over a Colin Powell or a Crist.

  39. Tommy,

    Unfortunately the liberal media bias that has been in evidence these last 18 months can not exist if dissenting voices are not silenced.

    The Playboy article you wrote was one of your better pieces, but you made the mistake of taking the conservative side on that one. Come to think of it, there was another really good one about Prejean that had you sounding like a Republican!

    Politics Daily is now just one big Obamafest with too many contributors saying too little. You were right about being a draw to the Political Machine. Between you, Caleb and Mark, there was always plenty of traffic.

    Best to you in the future. (Serious, no sarcasm)

  40. Well I don’t have a problem with a 10 hot chicks list… its the Hate that you have for these women that should offend any sane person. W omen’s groups should be Kicking your ass. But Since these are Conservative women your attacking, I guess Fairness is not an issue to waste their activist time on.

    Your an fool and you finally took your liberal Bias to far.

  41. Sammy, you didn’t read the story, or the rules. I’m not the one who wrote the list. I wrote a story DENOUNCING the list. I’m editing the really trollish parts of your comment, and letting you stick around since it was an honest mistake.

  42. I think the trolls are from malkins site, which means they don’t read her either. That’s funny!

  43. My best 2 you Tommy. I am sorry that AOL is so idiotic. They paid you to comment as an individual and decided they didn’t like that too much in practice. I wish you my best.

  44. Good Riddance…don’t let the door hit you in your butt !

    You ,I hope will never be employed again,unless its in “Fast Food”.

  45. Oriana, realist, Sammy, Justin:


    If you are not conversant in internet acronyms, that means, “Read The Fucking Post Before You Sound Like Idiots For Misunderstanding And Misrepresenting The Entire Point Of The Article And The Outrage Surrounding It”. (Some creative liberties taken with translation.)

    Sorry, but I have no patience for fools or trolls.

    You LOSE. Good DAY, sirs. 🙂

  46. Oriana’s right, of course, and all you Obama lovers will rue the day you voted for him, your perents 401k’s have melted to101k’s, the parents dont have the funds to keep feeding and supporting you, go select a shopping cart while there are some…time to leave their basements and that room you’ve lived in for 35 years. ..begin your quest add to our economy and way of life or get a canoe and paddle to your camelot…

  47. Translation: Waaaaah, the black man won and he’s doing things I disagree with and I’m scaaaaaaaaaaared!

    Grow up and grow a pair. Sometimes you don’t win. It’s okay. Have a cookie.

    Also, lv? Totally off-topic. It’s okay. I forgive you.

  48. Alex, I think I have to disagree with you.

    I mean, as you know, all Obama supporters are totally into rape. Someone wrote as much, so, I completely understand and agree with the above comments calling us rapists. It being on the web and such indicates its moral truth. I mean, that’s exactly right itsn’t it? You don’t like raping people? What kind of Lib are you? Also, I’m pretty sure Tommy was actually in support of the list on Playboy. How do you think the word “rape” is being assinged to you Alex? Or for that matter, to the writer at Playboy.

    Rape. Please. I work with rape victims. The use of the word (which is no where even in the concept of the Playboy article in truth) is an insult to intelligence and to real victims. That’s there Alex because of hyper hyperbole at its worst from the right.

  49. For those who cannot understand sarcasm, Tommy never used the word “rape.” Someone else conflated the piece into that and grouped Obama supporters as complicit rapists. Someone on the right. Who respectfully, is wrong.

  50. Who is tommy-christopher?

    Can someone tell me???

  51. Tommy Christopher is the guy who writes the stories with which you disagree because he’s more fair and balanced than the dolts over at Rupert’s various sites.

    I’m taking a real shine to Alex V. But Alex didn’t task lv492 on the poor spelling, e.g., “perents.” Were it not for the illiterati, I’d have no one to laugh at.

  52. To those who keep asking: Tommy Christopher is someone I found on Political Maching a little over a year ago. Since then, we’ve had several discussions/disagreements. At the end of the day, we have both respectfully agreed that we either agree or disagree. The key word in that last sentence is RESPECTFULLY. The conversations became a little heated on occasion but then, what conversations last summer didn’t become heated now and then. Tommy has never treated his readers/posters with anything less than respect. He countered my arguments with valid points of his own and read my responses carefully. There was never any name calling or trollish coments by either of us. I enjoyed it very much and took it as a learning experience. It is shameful to lose that voice and perspective on a blog that presents itself to it’s readers as a place to discuss politics and current events from both sides of the political spectrum. With te added loss of Denise Williams, the Ris brothers, Caleb and Mark, there’s really not much point in even browsing that site anymore. .

  53. Noticed I misspelled a few things (e.g. maching is actually machine) but, hopefully, I still made sense.

  54. You’re on his website.

  55. Hi, Tommy.

    I know where I am. Seems a few of these folks don’t. know where they are or who you are. You’ll be missed, along with the rest of the gang, at PD. But, we’ll find you whever else you go (besides here). Give my love to Diana.

  56. (Edited-You broke the rules, big time. Go read ’em and try again…TC)

  57. Fellow conservatives visiting this site to express your outrage: Tommy Christopher’s THE GOOD GUY. The one you want to tar and feather is Guy Cimbalo.

    Hope we cleared that up now.

    It’s obvious that TC would not have had any problem had he included a “but really they were asking for it” paragraph in his article, as did Bonnie Erbe and that tool at Salon.

  58. Oh my. This is so messed up. Sorry to hear about what happened ,Tommy.

  59. Thanks. Bummer.

  60. […] On Playboy and the Firing of Tommy Christopher Note: I will do a separate post to thanks everyone for their generosity and support.  My gratitude is […] […]

  61. Hey Sauerkraut! Thanks! I usually grammar-cop, but I was running out the door this morning and just cared that he was paranoid and wrong, not that he can’t spell. 🙂

    Also, !!! We made top posts on WP! Good job, everyone!

  62. I’m not the type of person that leaves comments on people’s websites or blogs – but I couldn’t let this one pass up. I’m an old broad, one of those that loves manners and consideration – an example of an era gone by , so may I just say Mr. Cristopher, thank you so much for being a gentleman. Thank you so much for liking and defending women not only for who we are, but also for what we represent. Most of all, thank you for speaking up.

  63. I just wanted to say, I’m so terribly sorry to see that you were fired for standing up for the rights of women by standing up against Playboy and their despicable article. I happen to live around the corner from AOL’s headquarters; I used to have at least a modicum of respect for the company. I know a great many people who work there, I’ve even been a part of their corporate bowling league (had family who worked for the company a few years ago.) But now that I’ve heard about this, wow… It’s truly a shame for AOL if they’re going to let one single editor let her own personal politics get in the way of seeing great work published under the AOL banner. You were standing up for what was right and you were cut down because of it. And because of that, a part of AOL was cut down simultaneously. No doubt, the media attention that has been brought to your situation has done untold damage to AOL’s reputation, and all because of that one woman, your boss. Wow. And all over her own personal politics. It baffles the mind.
    But of course, it doesn’t baffle the mind quite so much as the fact that you were fired by a woman because you stood up for women. I’d love to know how she rationalized that one in her own mind.

    Anyway, that got long. I just wanted to say, I hope this all works out for the best for you. And as a woman, I just want you to know how much I appreciate seeing a man stand up for women the way you did, the way you still are. Stellar behavior like that is severely lacking in the world today. It’s really reassuring to know that there are still true gentlemen in this world who are not only willing to say what needs to be said when it comes to women, but are willing to be chastised for it yet still maintain their ground, their dignity, and the courage of their convictions. More power to you, Mr. Christopher, and thank you.

    – Heather

  64. […] * AOL has since removed Tommy’s post and fired him; see the original post here, and On Playboy and the Firing of Tommy Christopher […]

  65. […] of firings. The emails indicate that less than a week before Christopher’s firing and before his coverage of the Playboy controversy Henneberger had set up a meeting with him to discuss expanding his role at Politics Daily. In the […]

  66. […] of firings. The emails indicate that less than a week before Christopher’s firing and before his coverage of the Playboy controversy Henneberger had set up a meeting with him to discuss expanding his role at Politics Daily. In the […]

  67. […] of firings. The emails indicate that less than a week before Christopher’s firing and before his coverage of the Playboy controversy Henneberger had set up a meeting with him to discuss expanding his role at Politics Daily. In the […]

  68. From TC: Chloe, you are indeed a loyal troll. Please consult the rules, though, and come back if you can abide by them.

  69. From TC:Google “internet troll.” Stop it, or go to another blog.

  70. From TC: Chloe, you can keep coming here to get your TC fix, but I’m afraid I can’t let you comment anymore. You’re just not following the rules. Happy trails!

  71. Poof!

  72. […] Warner for firing Tommy Christopher over his criticism of Cimbalo’s […]

Comments RSS TrackBack Identifier URI

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s