In a March 28 tweet, Ingraham accused David Hogg, 17, of “whining” about having been rejected by four of the colleges to which he’d applied. Her tweet backfired and prompted Nestlé, Hulu, Rachael Ray and other advertisers to distance themselves from the conservative pundit, whose Fox show, “The Ingraham Angle,” is off the air this week on a pre-planned break.
Ingraham, meanwhile, has apologized for the incident, while Fox News re-released a statement from co-president Jack Abernethy pledging to support her. Amid the media firestorm, a controversial moment from her past has resurfaced. During her senior year at New Hampshire’s Dartmouth College, she served as the editor of an independent conservative newspaper, The Dartmouth Review, and sent a reporter to secretly record a support group for LGBTQ students.
Ingraham published excerpts of the Gay Students Association meeting, which “included people describing their sexual experiences and talking about their sexual identities,” according to a 1984 report in The New York Times weeks after the incident. The contemporaneous Times report said the Review’s article named two association officials but “did not identify” the meeting’s participants.
At the time of the controversy, The Dartmouth Review had been “criticized in the past for articles deriding blacks, women and minorities” and was defended by a New Hampshire civil liberties group “against a libel suit filed by a black music professor,” according to The New York Times.
Ingraham defended her decision to have the reporter record the meeting because the Gay Students Association had refused to reveal how it spent funding it had received from Dartmouth.
“It is a freedom of the press issue, obviously,” she said at the time.
Rabbi David Seidenberg also outlined the incident in a Newsweek article Monday, writing that a friend of his was outed by the meeting transcript and “was terrified about what would happen to her prospects” as a result.
Comparing Ingraham’s 1984 controversy to the one that broke last week following her comments on Hogg, Seidenberg wrote, “I hope the day comes when [she] treats people the right way every week, adults and liberals included, without being threatened with a boycott.”
Ingraham went on to renounce her actions as editor of The Dartmouth Review in a 1997 Washington Post op-ed. In it, she said that her “views and rhetoric about homosexuality have been tempered” after learning that her brother, Curtis, is gay, and watching his partner, Richard, die of an AIDS-related illness.
“By refusing to give in to bitterness or defeat in the face of a relentless disease, they have shown me what C.S. Lewis meant when he wrote that our ideology and faith must leave room for tolerance and empathy,” she wrote. “I now regret that at Dartmouth we didn’t consider how callous rhetoric can wound ... not to mention how it undermined our political point.”