David Josef Volodzko, an editorial board member for the Seattle Times, was once just a university lecturer with a passion for revealing global injustices. However, his 15-year journalistic journey — which encompassed stories on refugees, war, and prisoners of war — was abruptly halted due to a single controversial tweet.
Living in ultra-progressive Seattle with his wife, a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) trainer, and their baby daughter, Volodzko never envisioned himself as a potential victim of the intensifying cancel culture.
While his Seattle Times column highlighting Seattle’s statue of Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin and the associated dark history elicited varied reactions, it was his Twitter commentary that proved problematic.
“In fact, while Hitler has become the great symbol of evil in history books, he too was less evil than Lenin because Hitler only targeted people he personally believed were harmful to society whereas Lenin targeted even those he himself didn’t believe were harmful in any way,” Volodzko wrote in his now-deleted remarks on X (formerly known as Twitter).
“Hitler was more evil than Lenin if we’re looking at what they did to people and that’s a pretty important metric for assessing evil!” he added in a follow-up tweet.
As Volodzko reflected in his essay in the Free Press, he remarked, "The argument I was making is a fraught one even under the best of circumstances — you don’t need to compare anyone to Hitler to argue that they are evil — and my delivery was poor, to say the least."
Despite believing the media house was in his corner, he was dismissed for his "poor judgment" and extended online engagement.
The Seattle Times, post his departure, issued an apology, citing inconsistencies with their values. David now harnesses his voice through his Substack newsletter the Radicalist, delving deep into political extremism and cancel culture — the very beast that consumed his career.
In an interesting twist, tech mogul Elon Musk recently extended an offer of legal assistance to anyone unjustly penalized by their employer due to their activities on his newly-named platform, X. Volodzko, seizing the opportunity, responded with his story, prompting Musk to hint that this might be a case worth exploring.
Although the road ahead remains uncertain for Volodzko and his family, Musk's nod offers a glimmer of hope amidst the storm.