“They Stood Once” Taken Down: An Explanation


The following is a statement by the Big Easy Magazine Editorial Board on why we decided to remove a previously published piece from our publication. That piece was They Stood Once by our lead content writer, Bill Arceneaux. We had attached a disclaimer to this piece when it was published in order to express that the views espoused in it were not in line with our values. However, upon further reflection, we realized that not only were the views put forth in the piece not in line with our values, they also did not deserve space or attention on our platform. The following statements are the reflections and thoughts of each member of our Editorial Board on the piece and why it needed to be taken down.

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Sometimes in life we just don’t get it right, but it’s how we respond when we fall that really tests our character. When we agreed to interview a person on the monuments relocation committee, we mistakenly approached the interview in a compromising way. We felt like this would allow for an open dialogue about how statues of Confederate leaders were erected to instill fear and intimidation in communities and people of color. However, after some reflection and feedback, we have come to realize that by interviewing someone with opposing perspectives on the issue of what these monuments mean, we were essentially giving them a platform to disseminate their message. Our decision was wrong. While our country deserves a dialogue across ideological lines on important policy issues, there are certain viewpoints that do not deserve a platform on an “unapologetically progressive” site.

We want to be clear in our view on this: There is simply no way to separate a Confederate monument from a history of white supremacy. It may not be what some would like to hear, but Robert E. Lee was a treasonous figure in our nation’s history who fought against the notion that all people, regardless of color, deserve equality, justice, liberty and the chance to pursue the American dream. Consider for a moment if your ancestors were slaves and your kin were discriminated against throughout our nation’s history. For these monuments to stand would mean that you would have to routinely be confronted by a towering reminder of the man who led the fight to preserve slavery and therein the idea that an entire race of people be treated as property. Would you feel comfortable? This question is meant to be rhetorical because the answer should be instinctual.

At Big Easy Magazine, we will not under any circumstance, tolerate views that attempt to justify white supremacy (whether directly or indirectly, through commemoration or celebration). Just as the Confederate statues were taken down in our city, we are taking down “They Stood Once” in the same fashion. We will remain true to our name and our cause. We are now and ever will be unapologetically progressive!

Scott Ploof (CEO & Publisher)

In preparing my thoughts on this editorial decision – one that I was not initially involved with – I was in the process of writing a special essay on the film Park Row and the attacks on American free press. This decision to take down my interview, while a tad surprising and even a bit heartbreaking (a lot of work went into it), does speak to the character of Big Easy Magazine in at least one way. When I started with the magazine, I said very specifically that I would NOT, under any circumstances, interview with David Duke. To be vindicated or lifted, in any perceived way, is that man’s goal, and I refuse to give him that chance.

By no means do I feel that Duke is somehow in line directly (he at least supports the pro statues movement) with the monuments relocation committee or the individual I questioned, nor do I feel that the subject of my article was/is a racist. I do, in the time since publishing, feel that the article was compromised by many concessions we made and by being too sensitive and insecure in securing the interview itself – efforts that should’ve been used on being more critical and inquisitive.

I see this as a learning experience for myself and this outlet. To ask more, to ask rightly and to report what is observed and experienced.

We’re still a work in progress, as am I.

Bill Arceneaux (Lead Content Writer/Social Media Chief)

We here at Big Easy Magazine are taking this opportunity to boldly declare ourselves to not only be a publication that is not racist, but one that is anti-racist. We presented an interview in They Stood Once that we had hoped would spark an insightful discussion about monument removal. After weeks of reflection and further thought we have come to the conclusion that in order to stay true to our values; in order to truly remain unapologetically progressive, we must not provide a platform for such views. Even when certain views and arguments do not seem to be directly racist, they can still be so problematic that they do not deserve room on a progressive platform such as ours. The failed ideology of white supremacy is an insidious one. It does not always boldly declare itself. Sometimes the subtle stench of white supremacy lingers in aspects of our history that may seem benign (or even worth celebrating) to some. These parts of our past must be boldly and honestly addressed for what they are. Once addressed and realized, aspects of our history that divide us, like the monuments to Confederate leaders in our city, must be taken down. We have come to realize that in order to stand by this convictions, viewpoints that support such monuments and the failed ideologies behind them must too be taken down from our platform. What defines us the most is not the mistakes that we make, but how we learn from them and do better. We will be more mindful in the future of our stance as an anti-racist publication.

Nolan Storey (Editor in Chief)

Editor’s Note: The contents of this statement will be controversial to some. We welcome your feedback. Please feel free to reach out to us, whether in criticism or support. Thank you.

Scott Ploof – CEO / Publisher – bigeasymagazine@gmail.com

Nolan Storey – Editor in Chief – bigeasymagnolan@gmail.com

Bill Arceneaux – Lead Content Writer – bigeasymagbill@gmail.com

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13 thoughts on ““They Stood Once” Taken Down: An Explanation

  1. So what you are saying is, you prefer to shut out any sort of truth because it is too embarrassing to admit you may be wrong or ill informed as to the true reason for these war memorials? That’s easy to understand, knowing your history of progressive socialist agendas, and your need to spread that idea. Shut down freedom of speech if it doesn’t align with your radical view and bigoted ideas. Keep up the identity politics, and you will find you will have few readers left and the Big easy magazine won’t be good for much more than starting a fire in the BBQ pit on Sunday.

  2. Obviously Big Easy has a problem with Facts that they cannot accept. What we have here in this charade of an article is nothing short of censorship. Hate is a terrible thing unfortunately the failure and ignorance expressed in this article only demonstrated a failure to understand and comprehend facts.

  3. You are still showing your bias by removing the article,
    You are showing the one sided position that started all of this with the monuments.

  4. Where is your “tolerance” and “inclusiveness”! Typical left, has no room for “diversity” of thought! End the Hate, Support Our Confederate Brothers and Sisters!

  5. You guys are a bunch of uneducated loosers if you think that statues of Confederate leaders were erected to instill fear and intimidation in communities and people of color.
    You people need a serious history
    lesson.

  6. Dear Mr. Ploof, Mr. Story, and Mr. Arceneaux,

    As a dean at Tulane, for twenty years I administered (and helped start) a journalism major for 20 years. Your joint article, entitled, “They Stood Once” Taken Down: An Explanation, is really no explanation at all. You attempt to portray your censorship decision as rational; it is not. All the fancy words and phrases you used may provide you cover from those who convinced you to censor the article-in-question, but they do not make you good journalists. On the other hand, perhaps none of you have a desire to practice ethical journalism. Since you are interested in presenting only one side of an issue, that make you purveyors of propaganda and nothing more. All of which begs the question – What is the mission statement of The Big easy Magazine”. Is it simply that your magazine is for progressives? Have you defined for your readership what it means to be a progressive? Do you think Franklin D.. Roosevelt was a progressive? Most would place FRD in the Progressive category since under his presidency Social Security, Works Progress, and other federally funded programs were developed to uplift those who needed help. However, do you know that on June 26, 1936 President Roosevelt flew to Dallas, Texas to dedicate the Robert E. statue. FDR called Lee one of the finest Americans this country ever produced as well as a gentleman and devout Christian. But, according to your myopic standards, you would you could consider FDR as a progressive and therefore anything he offered to your digital magazine would not be accepted\

    Mr. Ploof, how odd you quoted Winston Churchill in your “spirituality” column. Are you familiar with what Mr. Churchill said about Robert E. Lee? If not, here it is: “Robert E. Lee is one of the noblest Americans that ever lived and his noble presence and gentle kindly manners were sustained by Christian faith and exalted character”. Obviously, Churchill was not a progressive and given his laudatory comments about Lee, don’t you think his name should never ever appear in “The Big Easy”.

    My point in these examples is that if you draw a line in the sand, e.g. “we are progressives and we only publish information for other progressives”, you need to be cautious for lines in the sand easily shift. You can “lean” one way in your writings, but if you refuse to allow differing perspectives to find a place in your publication, what have you really contributed to the community you serve? Is not one of your purposes to make a difference? One sided information is simply propaganda and propaganda does make a difference, at least not one that we would normally choose.

    A sad day in the history of New Orleans journalism.

    Sincerely,
    Rick Marksbury

  7. Nolan finishes his statement with the following sentiment “What defines us the most is not the mistakes that we make, but how we learn from them and do better.” Is this sentiment only afforded to progressives or is it possible that Confederates learned from their experience and evolved too? I guess if you were a confederate todays world has the right to define you by that one event.

  8. I appreciate the action you took. Thank you for looking beyond yourselves to see this from the lens of the victimized and from the point of view of justice. Treason against our nation is never to be honored. We need not ever defend it if we intend to strive as nation of one.

  9. First of all, Big Easy Magazine is unapologetically left, and myself unapologetically Christian. To assume that this blog or forum, aggregates information from both sides of thought, and publishes it, is wrong. Neither does CNN or FOX, both of which I hate, just to clarify. But if I want to see someone’s point of view, then I read both arguments, published by the foremost minds on the subject. And that may lead me to FOX or CNN’s website. I’m neither shocked nor disgusted by finding that they have an agenda or promote one line of view. The fact that both CNN and Fox news are alive and thriving, proves we still do have a free society.

  10. About that story you took down….BigEasy absolutely has the right to control its content. But once you went with the statue story (which I never saw), you should have stuck with it and taken your licks. Instead, you opened the door to all the idiots and sophists on the right with their fallacious insistence that “you cannot be tolerant unless you tolerate intolerance.” You’re now you’re stuck with a more awkward explanation than if you’d just left the story up and said “ooops, our bad.” Sometimes it’s better to err on the side of bad speech than to face even absurd charges of “censorship.” Maybe exercise your editorial discretion BEFORE you put out something you’ll regret? On the good side, I probably never would have encountered you but for this controversy. See you around.

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