The Grid’s Sue-Ann Levy profile: Twitter fights, hashtag mistakes and the controversial columnist's less-public side
The Grid's cover story this week is a profile of controversial Toronto Sun columnist Sue-Ann Levy comes a month after she made what at least one journalist called an attempt to “self-destruct” on Twitter. A self-described “shit disturber,” some other journalists refused to be interviewed about Levy for the Grid feature, and in the past, councillors have literally run away from her.
Here's the tweet that riled up a number of journalists in October (the night of the U.S. Presidential debate on foreign policy):
Obama says he "will stand" with Israel if attacked and they are a "true friend." His nose is growing again. #MuslimBS— Sue-Ann Levy (@SueAnnLevy) October 23, 2012
While she refused calls to explain what she meant by that hashtag that night (here are a couple of the exchanges she had), she opened up about it in the article:
“It was interpreted all wrong,” she says, of her Twitter smackdown about Obama. “I mean, I take full responsibility for what I did, and it was unfortunate, but I think it was misunderstood, and it was blown out of all proportion.”
“So, you were thinking more of…”
“His ties, to the Muslim world. It’s hard to express what you think in 140 characters.”
The episode spurred National Post columnist Matt Gurney to publish The Sue-Ann Levy lesson of how (not) to use social media the next day, and media covered the Twitter affair itself. Her employer issued an apology—distancing itself from her tweet:
Sue-Ann Levy's tweet on the U.S. presidential debate had an inappropriate hashtag. The tweet doesn’t reflect the views of the Toronto Sun.— Toronto Sun (@TheTorontoSun) October 23, 2012
Levy has been in the spotlight for her tweets in the past as well. She was a main character in the Ryerson Review of Journalism's Winter 2012 piece on Twitter disputes among journalists.
But the Grid piece also explores the less-public side of Levy. “She is also described as a loyal friend, a fierce champion of underdogs, and a passionate advocate for gay rights, transparent governance, and Jewish causes,” the article reads. Her former editor Rob Granastein said, “She is one of the few writers that have carried the Sun as it cut more and more staff. She is delivering what she’s being asked to deliver.”
Read The Grid’s full profile here.