Alessandra Stanley, the ‘New York Times’ writer behind the paper’s much-mocked profile of Shonda Rhimes, has a long history of attacking prominent women in media.
For days, New York Times columnist Alessandra Stanley has been mired in controversy. The coverage generated by her recent piece on television powerhouse and Scandal creator Shonda Rhimes has officially disproved the age-old adage “all press is good press.” Stanley has inspired countless articles, blog posts and tweets that have accused her of being a sloppy journalist at best, a racist at worse. (Even her own publication, The New York Times, issued a stinging critique.) While the column offended different people for different reasons, most were upset with her opening line: “When Shonda Rhimes writes her autobiography, it should be called ‘How to Get Away With Being an Angry Black Woman.’ ”
When I finally got a chance to read the piece in question, I was somewhat surprised by the firestorm. Not because I didn’t understand how some might perceive Stanley’s words as offensive, but because I was surprised anyone else would be surprised that she wrote them. Many of Stanley’s most memorable pieces have followed a predictable formula: write about a powerful woman, but do so in an unflattering way that takes her down a peg. Rhimes just happens to be the latest target.