Asian American Journalists Angered by Mailer’s Swipe at NYT’s Kakutani

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By: E&P Staff

The Asian American Journalist Association (AAJA) is up in arms over comments novelist Norman Mailer made against longtime New York Times book critic Michiko Kakutani.

New York’s Daily News reported today that in an interview with Rolling Stone, Mailer called the Japanese-American reviewer “a one-woman kamikaze” and “a token” hire at the Times.

AAJA president and Dallas Morning News reporter Esther Wu wrote in a letter to Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner, “We take greater offense at his reference to her as a ‘two-fer’ and ‘token’ because she’s ‘Asiatic, feminist,’ which essentially diminishes the accomplishments of all women and journalists.”

The Daily News also reported that after trading remarks with Wu through media outlets, Mailer stood by his “token” accusation.

The article stated that Wu responded, “But this has nothing to do with political correctness and everything to do with character assassination of two whole classes of people (women and minorities) by Mr. Mailer.”

Wu also criticized the author of the Rolling Stone article, Douglas Brinkley, who mentioned Mailer’s two Pulitzer Prizes (for nonfiction and fiction) but did not cite Kakutani’s for criticism.

Through a spokesman for the Times, Kakutani declined to comment.

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