How did that vulgar word end up in a Toronto Star headline?

By Kathy English for the Toronto Star

“I would like an explanation of a very strange thing in the Star today,” the clearly irate reader said in her telephone message. “Where on earth did that word come from?”

“The Typo-of-the-Year Award for 2017 is off to a great start; going to be a challenge to beat,” another reader told me in an email. “This typo definitely ‘hits a chord’ with the extra ‘s’ thrown in.”

“I assume you were just checking that someone gives a hit,” joked another.

Sigh. Yes, this really happened. On Tuesday, an errant “s” that somewhat inexplicably landed in front of the word “hits” on the front page of the newspaper’s Entertainment & Life section resulted in the Star publishing a headline that — depending on their perspective — shocked, surprised and/or amused the many dozens of readers who expressed their concerns.

“Will s%#t hit the fan?” asked one reader upon seeing the large, white-lettered headline — highlighted by a red background, no less — that read, “An event for the offspring of mixed-race families shits a chord …

Sigh. As they say, “stuff” happens and publishing that completely out-of-context vulgarity in the Toronto Star was of course a big mistake.

“That headline was a true shocker. I am so sorry,” Editor Michael Cooke responded to a reader who had inquired whether this was “a deliberate action by the Star, to start off 2017 in a smutty way?”

No, no, no. Of course not.