It was one of his favorite lines he ever wrote.
That's what Massachusetts freelance writer Luke O'Neil thought of the opening to an opinion piece he penned for The Boston Globe, published Wednesday night.
The op-ed began with O'Neil, who also writes the newsletter Hell World, expressing his regret over not urinating in Iraq War cheerleader Bill Kristol's salmon dinner when O'Neil waited on him a decade ago.
"One of the biggest regrets of my life is not pissing in Bill Kristol's salmon," wrote O'Neil.
"The idea that anyone would really go and piss in someone's food because Luke O'Neil the weird freelancer said to is fucking stupid. It's obviously just being crude for humorous effect." — Luke O'Neil
In the article, O'Neil argued that former Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen—who resigned earlier this week—should not be allowed to feel comfortable in polite society after her oversight of the Donald Trump administration's child separation policy and general war on immigrants. O'Neil also sarcastically implied that waiters should do to Nielsen's food what he didn't to Kristol's dish.
"In the end, this piece did not meet Globe standards and we regret that it got posted," interim editorial director Shirley Leung told Boston public radio station WGBH Friday.
In an interview, O'Neil expressed frustration with the paper's decision and its treatment of him.
"I'm disappointed that the Globe threw me under the bus and took the almost never done step of deleting an article entirely, all because the 'civility police' complained about it," O'Neil told Common Dreams.
In a tweet Thursday, O'Neil announced he would no longer write for the paper.
Fellow journalists were outraged at the paper's decision to pull the piece and leave O'Neil twisting in the wind.
"As a former restaurant industry tech employee, I need to tell you: Nielsen deserves only gruel," said writer Dan O'Sullivan.
Now I've had my differences with Luke O'Neil over the years. Not gonna lie about that. Hell, I'm sure I was in the wrong. But as a former restaurant industry tech employee, I need to tell you: Nielsen deserves only gruel. https://t.co/MbPllXMKJV— Dan O'Sullivan (@Bro_Pair) April 10, 2019
Judd Legum traced the attacks on O'Neil back to O'Neil's recent writing about the poisoning of the mind done by Fox News.
1. My friend @lukeoneil47 got a bulls-eye on his back when he wrote an extremely powerful piece in his Hell World newsletter about people who lost family members to the Fox News vortex @BostonGlobe is now helping Fox get their revenge https://t.co/gcRILwm2BI— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) April 12, 2019
"It's easy to throw a writer, *especially* a freelance writer, under the bus for an opinion that doesn't land," said film critic Scott Tobias. "But it shows zero accountability."
The moment the @BostonGlobe clicked "post" on @lukeoneil47's column, it tacitly acknowledged that the piece met its editorial standards. It's easy to throw a writer, *especially* a freelance writer, under the bus for an opinion that doesn't land. But it shows zero accountability.— Scott Tobias (@scott_tobias) April 12, 2019
O'Neil told Common Dreams that the reaction to the piece left him a bit bemused—especially given the behavior of Nielsen during her time in the Trump administration.
"I don't understand what is so crazy about suggesting that the people responsible for ruining lives and tearing families apart and losing fucking track of children should be held somewhat accountable," O'Neil said.
That doesn't necessarily mean taking the step of relieving oneself into a plate of gravlax. In fact, O'Neil rejects the idea that his sarcastic comments in the piece were directed at inciting food service workers to take those steps.
"The idea that anyone would really go and piss in someone's food because Luke O'Neil the weird freelancer said to is fucking stupid," said O'Neil. "It's obviously just being crude for humorous effect."
But, the writer added, he isn't saying that people like Nielsen should be given a free ride.
"I do think, however, that they should be made uncomfortable in public," O'Neil said.