Bill Keller Wishes Cintra Wilson’s JCPenney Review Hadn’t Been Published

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The New York Times has finally issued an apology for the review Cintra Wilson wrote of Manhattan's first JCPenney, which insulted readers across America and inspired a few with desires to force-feed her a cream-filled puff pastry. Perhaps in the interest of dragging out the backlash for another week, public editor Clarke Hoyt devotes more than 1,100 words to the apology. He reports that JCPenney "found the review very offensive" to customers. Also, executive editor Bill Keller, whose mother shopped at JCPenney for much of her life, wished the review hadn't been published.

Wilson's editors say the review was typical of her style and therefore did not foresee the flood of anger and insult that would follow. Her previous reviews, likewise scathing, hadn't brought on anything similar in the past. Hoyt gives Wilson yet another chance to explain herself.

Wilson told me she usually writes about "obscure stores that don't exist outside of Manhattan," and she thinks of her audience as "1,300 women in Connecticut and urban gay guys in Manhattan." She said it was "kind of provincial of me" not to realize how big the Times was and how her audience would expand when she reviewed a store like JCPenney ... "It was dumb on my part not to see this coming," she said.


Emphasis ours because finally Wilson has begun to make up for her previous poorly thought-out apologies. If only Hoyt had been there to edit her blog before she updated it 7,000 times with comments that only further offended America.

But to Wilson's credit, the absence of large sizes on the racks of the Manhattan JCPenney has been identified as a legitimate failing of the store. A JCPenney spokesperson told Hoyt that smaller sizes in the Manhattan store sold out quickly, and the merchandise mix will be adjusted to meet demand. Maybe Wilson should have taken the opposite angle: JCPenney is for the thin!

The Insult Was Extra Large [NYT]
Related: Times: JCPenney Is for the Fat and Tacky
Cintra Wilson Apologizes for Scathing JCPenney Review [Updated]
Cintra Wilson Now Ignoring Further JCPenney Backlash
Middle America Wants to Force-feed Cintra Wilson a Cream Puff