Free speech advocate Thomas Chatterton Williams is leaving Harper’s Magazine after the next issue, sources have confirmed to Gawker. The writer, who once cited “hip-hop culture” as the reason he dragged a former girlfriend into the woods and smacked her, is apparently in talks for a contributing role at The Atlantic.
The particulars of Chatterton Williams’s possible new role are unclear. One source said he had not been hired full-time. Another source said, at one point, he had been considered for a newsletter writing position. A third suggested he would be contributing under a contractual arrangement for six articles a year, between the print magazine and website, that would pay around $150,000.
Spokespeople for The Atlantic and Harper’s did not respond to Gawker’s request for comment before publication. Chatterton Williams did not respond either.
The “ex-black” author has contributed to Harper’s for years, but joined as a columnist in early 2020. As one of the magazine’s two “Easy Chair” writers, he has opined on subjects like cancel culture, how climate change is sort of like cancel culture, and why a writer who didn’t like his book was a myopic purity-tester who probably wanted to cancel him.
More famously, Chatterton Williams was responsible for organizing “A Letter on Justice and Open Debate,” or what’s become known as “the Harper’s Letter.” The statement, signed by 153 writers, academics, and Wynton Marsalis, bemoaned the “stifling atmosphere” of contemporary discourse, wherein debate was restricted by “an intolerance of opposing views, a vogue for public shaming and ostracism, and the tendency to dissolve complex policy issues in a blinding moral certainty.”
Chatterton Williams should fit in with his new colleagues, who have plenty to say about cancel culture. If he doesn’t get cancelled like aborted Atlantic hire Kevin Williamson, maybe TCW will get verified.