Don’t mess with the hair. This seemed to be the message when a column by author Margaret Atwood was published to the National Post‘s webite and then taken down. The Canadian newspaper has since put the piece back up, but not before the act sparked a large response on social media appropriately dubbed #HairGate.
Atwood’s column, titled “Hair is in the election-season air, but is it crucial to the question of your vote?,” focused on attack ads from Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper on his rival Justin Trudeau. The ads in question began with “Nice hair, Justin.”
After the column was published, the Post took it down for several hours. Atwood tweeted to the newspaper, writing, “Um, did I just get censored?”
In response, the hashtag #HairGate was formed and Atwood’s fans took to it with gusto.
Trudeau also got in on the fun. “While we’re on the topic of hair, a reminder of what really matters,” he tweeted.
The National Post did not immediately respond to EW’s request for comment. Senior Vice President Gerry Nott wrote to the Toronto Star in an email, “The column was taken down because the necessary fact checking had not been completed. Senior editorial leadership at Postmedia also had not concluded whether the column was aligned with the values of the National Post and its readers.”
An alternate version of the article was posted on The Walrus shortly after the action, and the original has since been republished back on the Post. However, NOW magazine staff writer Jonathan Goldsbie pointed out a number of changes were made.