News / Toronto

Jonathan Kay resigns as editor of The Walrus amid 'appropriation prize' backlash

Kay is one of several prominent Toronto journalists who had leant support the ex-editor of The Writers’ Union of Canada magazine, Hal Niedzviecki.

Jonathan Kay, seen here in an Oct. 31, 2014, file photo, resigned as editor-in-chief of The Walrus on Saturday.

(NICK KOZAK / FOR THE TORONTO STAR)

Jonathan Kay, seen here in an Oct. 31, 2014, file photo, resigned as editor-in-chief of The Walrus on Saturday.

Jonathan Kay has resigned as editor-in-chief of The Walrus, amid outrage over some journalists’ support for a so-called “appropriation prize,” a position that generated intense backlash on social media and within the Canadian arts and journalism communities this week.

The Star has independently confirmed that Kay resigned Saturday night. He first told the CBC about his departure on Sunday morning.

Kay is one of several prominent Toronto journalists to support fellow magazine editor Hal Niedzviecki after he resigned late last week as editor of The Writers’ Union of Canada magazine after backlash over an opinion piece asking writers “to imagine other cultures” and to “set your sights on the big goal: Win the Appropriation Prize.”

Kay called the outrage over Niedzviecki departure “mobbing.” A number of journalists then pledged money to jokingly set up an “appropriation prize.”

That, in turn, sparked intense social media outrage.

Kay had been editor-in-chief of The Walrus since 2014, succeeding John Macfarlane.

Kay joined the magazine from a position as the comments editor the National Post, which he joined at its inception in 1998.

Niedzviecki responded to the controversy on Friday with a note on Facebook:

“Calls for an actual ‘appropriation prize’ are extremely unhelpful. They do not represent me in anyway.”

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