The National Post's Bruce McArthur Victim-Blaming
Opinion
The National Post’s Bruce McArthur Victim-Blaming
What is revealed by a deeply unfortunate headline error conflating killer and victim

On May 6th, a National Post article by reporter Adrian Humphreys detailed murder victim Andrew Kinsman’s true-crime interest in serial killers John Wayne Gacy and Dennis Andrew Nilsen. In June 2017, 49-year-old Kinsman became serial killer Bruce McArthur’s eighth and final victim, part of a major tragedy that has rocked Toronto’s LGBTQ+ community to the core. True crime is an interest shared by millions of people worldwide, so it seemed strange to emphasize Kinsman’s personal consumption of it in an article detailing his own gruesome death. Furthermore, to write at length about Kinsman’s sexual encounters feeds into a societal narrative about how gay men, through casual sex, are culpable in their own deaths.

For hours, a headline for the same article syndicated across the Postmedia chain read “Bruce Kinsman was fascinated by serial killers before he became Bruce McArthur’s 8th victim,” mixing up the given names of the serial killer and his victim. This poorly copy-edited headline underlined the article’s subtext that Kinsman was a co-conspirator of McArthur and perhaps in part responsible for his tragic death.

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