Newsweek apologises for op-ed questioning Kamala Harris birthright

WION Web Team
New York, New York, United States of America Updated: Aug 16, 2020, 07:47 AM(IST)

Kamala Harris Photograph:( AFP )

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They questioned the US citizenship of Harris -- a necessity to run for the US president post. Harris' mother was born in India and her father was born in Jamaica

Newsweek has apologised for an op-ed that questioned Kamala Harris' eligibility to be Joe Biden's running mate by promoting a false and racist conspiracy theory which President Donald Trump has not dismissed.

They questioned the US citizenship of Harris -- a necessity to run for the US president post. Harris' mother was born in India and her father was born in Jamaica.

"This op-ed is being used by some as a tool to perpetuate racism and xenophobia. We apologise," read Newsweek's editor's note on Friday, which replaced the magazine's earlier detailed defence of the op-ed.

"We entirely failed to anticipate the ways in which the essay would be interpreted, distorted and weaponised," read the apology, signed by Josh Hammer, opinion editor, and Nancy Cooper, global editor in chief. 

But they ended the note by saying that the op-ed would remain on the site, with their note attached.

The op-ed was written by John Eastman, a conservative attorney who argues that the US Constitution doesn't grant birthright citizenship. Eastman sowed doubt about Harris' eligibility based on her parents' immigration status.

Newsweek earlier defended the piece, arguing that Eastman "was focussing on a long-standing, somewhat arcane legal debate" about the 14th Amendment and not trying to "ignite a racist conspiracy theory around Kamala Harris' candidacy."

According to constitution lawyers, Harris, who was tapped by Joe Biden to serve as his running mate on the Democratic ticket, was born in Oakland, California, and is eligible for both the vice presidency and presidency under the constitutional requirements.

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