CNN: Apologize for your disgusting coverage of the Steubenville Rapists
  • Petitioning Jeff Zucker

This petition will be delivered to:

President, CNN Worldwide
Jeff Zucker

CNN: Apologize for your disgusting coverage of the Steubenville Rapists

    1. John Szarowski
    2. Petition by

      John Szarowski

      Corinna, ME

While reporting on the verdict and sentencing of the two Steubenville rapists, the CNN news personalities told us repeatedly how difficult it was to watch these boy's lives being destroyed. How their crime will haunt them.

These criminals destroyed their own lives, when they decided to repeatedly rape an incapacitated girl. When they decided to film and share their horrific crime.

Not once did CNN mention the person whose life was most destroyed by their crime, who will also be haunted for life by their crime... their victim. The young girl who they violated and raped.

Not once did CNN mention the person whose life was most torn apart by their crime.  Not once did they acknowledge that her life was also irreparably changed, by them. That she would have to work through the pain, humiliation, self doubt and self loathing, the stigma of rape, for the rest of her life.

Not once.

The media, and it's personalities have a huge rule to play in shaping public opinion and public perception. With that role comes an equal responsibility to ensure they use that role for the good of society.

CNN's coverage of that story failed to meet that responsibility. Failed miserably. The on air personalities did nothing more than promulgate rape culture in America. A culture that leads to someone being raped or sexually assaulted every two minutes.

Every Two Minutes.

CNN, We are sure the 97% of rapists who will never spend a day in jail appreciated your sympathetic coverage of these two criminals.

The rest of us did not.

We demand an on air apology for your disgustingly biased coverage. Further, we demand that you use your position as a premier news network to focus on changing rape culture in America. Devote an hour long, prime time segment to rape, it's victims, what can be done to prevent it, and how to change the culture that gives rise to this violent crime.

Recent signatures


    1. CNN continues to ignore criticism, petitions. Boycott group formed.

      John Szarowski
      Petition Organizer

      CNN continues to refuse to respond in any meaningful way to the criticism over it's coverage of the Steubenville rapists.

      As a result several boycott groups have formed and are contacting advertisers with CNN, hoping to bring additional pressure on CNN to issue an apology and to take a stand against perpetuating rape culture.

      I would urge you to help by contacting those advertisers as well.

    2. Candy Crowley: "You've got to be kidding me."

      John Szarowski
      Petition Organizer

      Candy's reply to criticism about her sympathic coverage of rapists...’s-comments

    3. A quarter of a million signatures!

      John Szarowski
      Petition Organizer

      Thank you everyone for signing. This petition is now has over a quarter of a million supporters.

      Unfortunately, I have seen no response from CNN. The only discussion or mention I've seen from CNN is less than encouraging. According to 'unoffical comments' quoted in The Wrap, Poppy Harlow is "outraged" by the criticism of her slanted coverage.

      Candy Crowley seemed to express similar outrage when she faced questions and criticism from students:
      “Poppy’s reporting, she’s been there forever and, I think, done a great job covering all sides,” Crowley said. “What happened? It was emotional; I mean, that’s a fact. It was an emotional thing. Now if, by this, you’re (implying) that somehow I’m sympathetic to rapists? You’ve got to be kidding me.”

      I was hoping for much more humility and introspection than this. Crowley still seems to be unaware that her sympathy focused the rapists.

      Please continue to share this or one of the other similar petitions

    4. Reached 100,000 signatures
    5. Story in the New York Daily News

      John Szarowski
      Petition Organizer

      I hope coverage of this story continues to expand, bringing more pressure to bear on CNN and by extension, other media outlets as well.

      Petition blasting CNN for allegedly sympathetic coverage of Steubenville, Ohio, rape convicts garners more than 90,000 signatures

      NewsCatcher31 via YouTube Describing the courtroom atmosphere when the guilty verdict was read, Reporter Poppy Harlow said, "I've never experienced anything like it, Candy. It was incredibly emotional, incredibly difficult even for an outsider like me to watch what happened as these two young men that had such promising futures - star football players, very good students - we literally watched as, they believe, their life fell apart."

    6. Reached 75,000 signatures
    7. Want to do more to end rape culture?

      Shelby Knox
      Senior Campaigner

      Connor, a football player at Colby College, and Carmen, a former campus sexual violence educator and SPARK activist, have launched a campaign asking the National Federation of High School Associations, which provides training for high school athletics coaches, to offer a course on sexual violence prevention to make sure what happened in Steubenville never happens again. You can sign and share their campaign at the link below!

      No More Steubenvilles: Educate Coaches About Sexual Assault

      We are Connor and Carmen, a student athlete and a young feminist activist with SPARK Movement, and we are fed up with hearing the stories of male...

    8. Reached 50,000 signatures
    9. Story on The Daily Beast

      John Szarowski
      Petition Organizer

      Receievd a call today from Winston Ross at The Daily Beast. This petition was mentioned, and he included a link as well, so heopefully we can continue to gather signatures and apply pressure to CNN.

      Read his story here:

      CNN Feels Sorry for Steubenville Rapists; World Can't Believe its Ears

      Rarely do rapists evoke such sympathy. After two teenagers were convicted on Sunday of raping a young girl in Steubenville, Ohio, a CNN correspondent lamented that it was "incredibly emotional, incredibly difficult" to watch the court proceedings.

    10. Reached 8,000 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Elizabeth Paz COVINGTON, LA
      • about 12 hours ago

      It's important that we see how rape destroyed the victim's life, not defending the rapists.

    • Krystal Bethany COLLINSVILLE, MS
      • 5 days ago

      This is important to me because I am a human being. This is important to me because I have a heart. This is important to me because no one who has been raped should ever be made to feel as though they are at fault. This is important to me because the perpetrators of rape and sexual abuse should never be made out to be the "victim". The question should not be, "Why is the important to you?", though. The question should be, "Why is this not important to everyone?"

    • Rich Brooks WILDWOOD CREST, NJ
      • 10 days ago

      CNN reporting at times is outrageous

    • Peyton English JACKSON, TN
      • 14 days ago

      Rape should be intolerable. Rape culture should be intolerable. We have to take a stand.

    • Amber Harris BAKERSFIELD, CA
      • about 1 month ago

      "Don't you know it pays to be young when you commit a crime? No one cares about the victim, its the attacker who deserves the tears!" -Said every news station ever.


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