Alan Linda was fired from Fergus Falls, Minnesota's The Daily Journal after he called a plane passenger "fat" in his weekly column

By Gabrielle Olya
February 22, 2017 01:53 PM
Credit: Getty

A long-time columnist for Fergus Falls, Minnesota’s The Daily Journal was fired after he recounted his experiences sitting next to a larger person on a plane and body shamed his fellow passenger.

In his “The Prairie Spy” column, Alan Linda called the passenger “fat” and spoke about his weight in an unsympathetic manner, according to the Journal,which has since removed the column from its website.

The paper’s editorial board explained their reasons for firing Linda in a post published last week.

“Not only did this [column] offend many of our readers, it offended us,” reads the post. “We would never have a vibrant opinion page if every viewpoint on the page was within a narrow window of allowable thought. However, there are some viewpoints that are out of bounds.”

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Bullying others is not OK. Body shaming is not OK. Racist views are not OK. Homophobia is not OK,” the post continues. “The list goes on, but you get the picture. Let’s debate the issues, not make personal attacks on people.”

Tim Engstrom, The Daily Journal’s editor and publisher, told Minnesota’s Star Tribune that the response to firing Linda — who wrote for the paper for 30 years — has been received well by readers.

“I’ve gotten an overwhelmingly positive response over the decision,” he said. “People say it’s the right thing to do.”

The Star Tribune reached Linda for a comment, who said he didn’t understand what the dispute was about.