Boeing Executive Cancelled Over Decades-Old Article On Women In Combat

Boeing’s Communications Chief Niel Golightly resigned Thursday following an employee complaint over a 1987 article opposing women serving in military combat.

Golightly, who served as the troubled planemaker’s senior vice president of communications once wrote that “introducing women into combat would destroy the exclusively male intangibles of war fighting and the feminine images of what men fight for – peace, home, family,” in a 1987 issue of the U.S. Naval Institute magazine. “At issue is not whether women can fire M-60s, dogfight MiGs, or drive tanks.”

The now former communications executive has since called his early writings “embarrassingly wrong and offensive” and said he no longer held those views while still resigning for the sake of the company.

“My article was a 29-year-old Cold War navy pilot’s misguided contribution to a debate that was live at the time,” said Golightly in a statement. “The dialogues that followed its publication 33 years ago quickly opened my eyes, indelibly changed my mind, and shaped the principles of fairness, inclusion, respect, and diversity that have guided my professional life since.”

Until it found a successor, the compnay said Thursday Boeing’s Executive Vice President of Enterprise Operations and CFO Greg Smith would be presuming the role as its spokesperson in the meantime.

Golightly’s resignation comes at a turbulent time for the planemaker as it battles constant negative headlines and government scrutiny after two of its jets fell out of the sky in 2018 and 2019 killing 346 people. In March of last year, the company’s 737 MAX jet was grounded in response to the tragedies.

The resignation is also the latest in a surging series of individuals being “cancelled” from years-old work deemed offensive to particular populations no matter how ones’ views have evolved.

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