AP defends redefinition of 'mistress' following online ridicule, admits 'alternative terms fall short'

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The Associated Press defended their widely mocked attempt to phase out use of the word “mistress” Wednesday following ridicule from news outlets and media critics.

The Associated Press Stylebook, which has typically set the standard for the use of language by the mainstream media, surprised Twitter users Tuesday when it tweeted: “Don’t use the term mistress for a woman who is in a long-term sexual relationship with, and is financially supported by, a man who is married to someone else.

“Instead, use an alternative like companion, friend or lover on first reference and provide additional details later.”

Some accused the AP of sexism for allegedly implying that the woman having the affair couldn’t financially support herself. Others called out the confusion of referring to a person engaged in a sexual relationship with a “friend.”

“Yeah, definitely use “friend,” the term the husband uses to explain himself. That’s much less sexist,” New York Magazine columnist Mark Harris wrote.

“Would ‘home-wrecking floozy’ be okay?” asked Daily Wire host Matt Walsh.

Fox News contributor Joe Concha wondered in an on-air appearance Wednesday whether “married man’s co-conspirator” would be a better term.

“You’ve got to wonder if the AP Stylebook’s mistress may have wrote that just to cover up here,” he deadpanned.

The Associated Press responded Wednesday, admitting that “it’s problematic that the alternative terms fall short.

“But,” the statement read, “we felt that was better than having one word for a woman and none for the man, and implying that the woman was solely responsible for the affair.”

Fox News’ David Rutz contributed to this report.

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