Maneater’s top editors resign over April Fools’ ‘Carpeteater’ issue

Photo: Ali Colwell

Abby Spudich hoped her apology for the “Carpeteater” April Fools’ issue would make the controversy go away, but that didn’t happen and now she’s resigned as managing editor of the University of Missouri’s Maneater. “I truly did not know that ‘carpet eater’ is a derogatory term used for a lesbian,” Spudich wrote last week. “Had I known, I would never have even considered using it.” She told readers on Tuesday:

I regret deeply the harm I have caused through the publication of the April Fool’s edition; this was never my intention. As an individual, I still plan on engaging with the diversity programs and resources available on campus to continue my own growth as a journalist and as a human being.

The Maneater’s editor-in-chief also resigned Wednesday morning, even though he didn’t coordinate the April Fools’ issue. “This edition of The Maneater has historically been put together by the editorial staff, as a sort of surprise for the editor-in-chief,” Travis Cornejo explains. “I realize I’ve been fairly silent in regards to our April Fool’s issue. …My approach toward this situation has been fundamentally different than what my editorial board wanted and expected of me.”

* Editor-in-chief’s apology and letter of resignation
* Managing editor’s letter of resignation
* Earlier: Managing editor apologizes for Carpeteater issue



  1. JtT said:

    Two things. 1. It time for all U.S. journalists to drop all “April Fool” stunts, a phenomenon that came to us fairly recently (in the last decade or so) from the British media, which seem to think they’re amusing. They are not. And 2. How is “carpeteater” “derogatory,” rather than just sexually crude, which is a whole different thing? We need to start being a lot more precise in our use of language when we scold each other for what we say — which we seem to spend an awful lot of time doing in journalism these days.

  2. Mark said:

    A journalist who says they didn’t know what “carpeteater” meant needs only to Google it. The first entry is “Urban Dictionary: carpet eater,” and features any number of definitions for it.

  3. John Cheves said:

    As a Maneater reporter and editor from 20 years ago, I can remember past April Fools Day controversies at the newspaper.

    Every few years, the Maneater staff would wonder why we didn’t publish an April Fools Day issue — gee, let’s do one, what a great idea! — and then the inevitable sophomoric humor, written by actual sophomores, led to campus outrage and profuse apologies.

    And that would be the end of it until a few years passed, the chagrined news staffers graduated, and their successors wondered why we didn’t publish an April Fools Day issue — gee, let’s do one, what a great idea! — and etc., etc., repeat ad nauseam.

    Memo to the Maneater staff of 2016: Don’t publish an April Fools Day issue.

  4. Kevin Craver said:

    Some commenters are spinning this into a case of political correctness run amok. The real issue here is the amazing lack of common sense that would make someone think that writing fake copy is a good idea.

    Any journalist in this day and age who thinks running fake stories, fake headlines or fake anything is a good idea, on April 1 or any time of the year, owes the profession the courtesy of leaving it.

    Not a single April 1 goes by without me reading about some journalist or editor stepping down over a fake story.

    Whatever happened to, “Don’t become the story”?

  5. jim foster dvm said:

    Seems to my collective memory that when I was at Mizzou they had a front page photo of a horse taking a really nasty watery pooh. Let’s get back to those days when we had imagination.

  6. P. Quackenbush said:

    Heck, I find the name Maneater offensive as I am half Mohawk Native American. Mohawk is the Narangassett name for “man eater.” It’s a perjorative. However, I’m not running around calling for the heads of Mizzou’s J-School while I sit across campus from them. While I feel like having some fun editions from time to time are great–I used to work at the Purdue Exponent, I remember some fun issues–but the timing and terms used in this edition were ill-used. Especially when April is LGBTQ issues month, and it’s widely celebrated across Mizzou’s campus. They were right to resign and I hope people that work with them and their fellow students in the J-school will learn from these mistakes. I also hope it doesn’t ruin their future in journalism.

  7. Scott said:

    Crude? For sure. Offensive? Clearly open to anyone’s opinion, but likely not horrible.
    Perhaps more important, I didn’t realize anyone read the Maneater besides the staff, much less took it serious.