Freelance journalist David Leavitt has apologized on Twitter after making an insensitive joke about the bombing in Manchester on Monday.
“MULTIPLE CONFIRMED FATALITIES at Manchester Arena,” Leavitt wrote in a tweet that’s since been deleted. “The last time I listened to Ariana Grande I almost died too.”
Twitter users were quick to condemn the joke and Leavitt for making light of what turned out to be a major terror attack. 22 people were killed and 59 injured when a bomb went off at Manchester Arena as an Ariana Grande concert was letting out Monday night.
Leavitt followed up on his original tweet with one saying he “thought an Ariana Grande was something you ordered at Starbucks,” and another taunting his critics: “Too soon?” Both follow-up tweets are still visible on his account.
Leavitt’s Twitter bio says he’s a freelance writer for “CBS, AXS, Yahoo!, Examiner, & etc,” though many of those outlets have since distanced themselves from him amid the backlash. After receiving multiple tweets calling for them to cut ties with Leavitt, CBS clarified from its PR account that he is not an employee of the company.
Boston CBS affiliate station WBZ-TV, which has previously aired segments featuring Leavitt, also denounced him on Twitter. “David Leavitt is not a WBZ employee. His abhorrent comments in no way represent the views of our station,” the station wrote on Twitter.
AXS has replied to multiple users with the same message: “This person is not employed by AXS. We don’t endorse this despicable comment.” Leavitt’s author page also appears to have been removed from the site.
Leavitt apologized in a tweet on Tuesday, saying he “didn’t realize the magnitude of the tragedy” at the time of the original tweet. “I always make stupid jokes about whatevers trending,” he wrote. “Condolences 2 families.”
However, several users were still upset despite the apology. “You wrote multiple fatalities in your first tweet and then did two follow up tweets. You are disgusting,” read one angry reply. “Delete your account, dude. you’re done here,” read another.
See some of the angry reactions below: