USA Today tried to reframe the controversial topic of pedophilia as something that is "misunderstood." A majority of the article cites how child molesters complicate the public appearance of pedophiles.
One of the quotes in the pieces comes from psychologist, author, and "internationally recognized expert" Anna Slater, who says there are people who "molest kids because they're scared of adult women. They molest kids to get revenge, but they don't actually have an age preference for prepubescent children."
The article's theme attempts to discuss the psychological situation of pedophiles, claiming it's a condition one is born with.
USA Today later removed a series of tweets that matched the same talking points from the article and were met with a heavy ratio on Twitter.
The headline has been edited from "What the public keeps getting wrong about pedophilia" to "The complicated research behind pedophilia."
One of USA Today's sources, Dr. James Cantor, in December 2018 advocated for pedophilia to become a sexuality that is treated the same as general LGBTQ+ advocacy: "Speaking as a gay men, I believe we SHOULD include the P. To do otherwise is to betray the principles that give us our rights."
After significant criticism online on Tuesday, USA Today Life removed their first tweets. But soon after doing so, they republished a thread with a replacement and explanation.
"A previous thread did not include all information and the story it was written about is behind a paywall. We made the decision to delete the thread," USA Today claims on Twitter. They went on to say there was important "context" lacking from the original Twitter thread that was within the story itself.
USA Today removed the paywall for the story to that effect. The social media reactions and sentiments over the episode were of shock and disgust.
Arsenal Media Group digital director Logan Hall said "next corporate media endeavor: normalizing pedophilia."
"Ah, yes. Here we go with the liberal media celebrating and trying to normalize pedophilia," NewsBusters managing editor Curtis Houck said.
"You can't normalize and destigmatize pedophilia in context. It's a nonstarter. You should pull down the entire story, not just the twitter thread."
The USA Today piece cites the controversy between Old Dominion University and Dr. Allyn Walker, who talked about "destigmatizing pedophilia" and referred to pedophiles as "minor-attracted people," from last year. Walker resigned from their job with the school in the fallout from an interview they gave to pedophilia advocacy group, the Prostasia Foundation.