The Asbury Park Press, a New Jersey-based daily newspaper has sparked outrage after posting an offensive caption that accompanied an image of a woman administering a COVID-19 vaccine.
In the caption, the woman in the picture was identified as a "f*cking hot nurse" and "a total JAP" - a racial slur used to describe people of Japanese descent and is also used as an abbreviation for Jewish American Princess, which is a derogatory termused to describe a "stereotypical well-to-do or spoiled American Jewish girl or woman."
The photo was credited to Gustavo Martinez Contreras and was part of a story on the publication's website on efforts to bring the vaccine to communities of color in Lakewood, New Jersey. The caption was later changed and the photo was eventually taken down from the website.
'Disgusting' and 'Offensive'
"This is beyond the pale and disgusting," State Sen. Vin Gopal (D-Long Branch) said on Twitter. "(The) Asbury Park Press needs to provide an explanation and apology ASAP on why and how this was posted."
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy also criticized the newspaper, calling the photo caption "incredibly offensive." "I frankly didn't believe it," Murphy said at a press conference on Monday. "I then read it with me own eyes and it is unfathomable that someone could have written that, even privately, never mind that it was published."
Murphy added that someone should pay a price for the mistake and suggested someone should be out of a job over the mistake.
Asbury Park Press Issues Apology
In a Monday statement, Asbury Park Press Executive Editor Paul D'Ambrosio said the caption was fixed on Sunday as soon as editors were made aware of it.
"I apologize deeply to women, the Lakewood Jewish community (where the photo was taken), all members of the Jewish faith, the Asian American community and all our readers," D'Ambrosio said.
"The words in the caption were totally unacceptable and in no way reflect the principles and practices of the staff of the Press and Gannett. The Press and Gannett have a long history of fighting for inclusiveness, diversity and women's rights. We took immediate and significant action once we became aware of the issue, and we changed our online procedures to ensure such an event never happens again."