The Nanaimo Daily News apologized for running a “racist” letter to the editor that said First Nations are chronic under-achievers and dismissed their culture.
The publication sparked an online protest against the newspaper and the writer Don Olsen, and the mayor of Nanaimo joined about 100 people protesting outside the offices of the Nanaimo Daily News on Vancouver Island, the CBC reported. The protestors demanded a front page apology and the firing of the managing editor. They further accused the newspaper of repeatedly printing racist rants against aboriginal people.
Hugh Nicholson, the newspaper’s division manager, issued an editorial clarification on Friday acknowledging the letter should not have run.
"In the Wednesday edition of the Nanaimo Daily News, a letter to the editor ran from Mr. Don Olsen, which has caused considerable concern among some of our readers. While we would defend Mr. Olsen's right to hold and express his opinion, the sentiments expressed were entirely his own and in no way reflect the views of the newspaper. The letter should not have run. We apologize for any distress this may have caused our readers.”
The letter has since been taken down from the website*.
The B.C. Press Council said it received more than 100 complaints about the letter by Thursday evening, CTV News reported.
The Globe and Mail reported Nicholson wrote Nicholson hoped the situation had not harmed the image of the newspaper. “The public, in general, understands mistakes happen,” he told The Globe. “It’s not something they typically see in our paper.”
*The full text of the letter to the editor can be read here.