The Atlantic apologizes for Scientology advertisement: ‘We screwed up’

By Daniel Levine,

The Atlantic magazine has issued an apology for the criticized pro-Scientology article that was slammed by the Internet.

As we previously reported, the respected magazine published an article titled “David Miscavige Leads Scientology to Milestone Year,” which highlighted key events for the controversial religion and its leader over the past year. Even though it was clearly labeled “sponsor content,” the advertorial sparked criticism, especially since all comments on it were overwhelmingly positive about the church. The Atlantic said that its marketing team was responsible for editing the comments.

The article was eventually pulled, but the screenshots of it still exist.

“We screwed up,” the magazine admitted in its apology, reports The New York Times. “It shouldn’t have taken a wave of constructive criticism — but it has — to alert us that we’ve made a mistake, possibly several mistakes.”

The statement continued, “We now realize that as we explored new forms of digital advertising, we failed to update the policies that must govern the decisions we make along the way.”

The “sponsored content” strategy to gain advertising revenue is not new. Sites like Gawker and BuzzFeed have gained attention for this practice. Even The Huffington Post has an entire section devoted to sponsored content.

Scientology likely bought the ad since Lawrence Wright’s Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief, an expose on the church, will be released on Thursday.

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