Los Angeles Times writer issues apology for column describing LSU players as ‘dirty debutantes’


Los Angeles Times writer Ben Bolch has issued an apology about a column previewing the LSU women’s basketball team ahead of their Sweet 16 matchup against UCLA after Tigers head coach Kim Mulkey ripped the piece for being “sexist,” “awful” and “wrong.”

Bloch posted a lengthy apology on X days after Mulkey’s press conference in which she called out the column for “attacking” her players. Bloch described players as “villains” and “dirty debutantes” in his writing. 

Kim Mulkey of the LSU Lady Tigers watches on during the first half against the Iowa Hawkeyes during the Elite Eight round of the 2024 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament held at MVP Arena on April 1, 2024 in Albany, New York. (Scott Taetsch/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

“You can criticize coaches all you want,” she told reporters, via ESPN. “That’s our business. You can come at us and say, ‘You’re the worst coach in America. I hate you. I hate everything about you.’ We expect that. It comes with the territory.


“But the one thing I’m not going to let you do, I’m not going to let you attack young people, and there were some things in this commentary that you should be offended by as women. It was so sexist. It was good versus evil in that game today. Evil? Called us dirty debutantes? Are you kidding me?”

Mulkey’s criticisms followed her previous remarks about The Washington Post. 

On Monday, Bloch penned an apology to both programs, noting that he was not asked by the LA Times to issue one.  

Angel Reese and Flau'jae Johnson

LSU forward Angel Reese (10) and LSU guard Flau’jae Johnson (4) talk as Reese leaves the court during the fourth quarter of an Elite Eight round college basketball game during the NCAA Tournament, Monday, April 1, 2024, in Albany, N.Y. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)


“Words matter. As a journalist, no one should know this more than me. Yet I have failed miserably in my choice of words. In my column previewing the LSU-UCLA women’s basketball game, I tried to be clever in my phrasing about one team’s attitude, using alliteration while not understanding the deeply offensive connotation or associations. I also used metaphors that were not appropriate. Our society has had to deal with so many layers of misogyny, racism and negativity that I can now see why the words I used were wrong. It was not my intent to be hurtful, but I now understand that I terribly missed the mark.”

He continued, “I sincerely apologize to the LSU and UCLA basketball teams and to our readers. UCLA, a school I have covered for nearly a decade, champions diversity and is known as a leader in inclusivity. However, I have not upheld that standard in what I wrote and I will do much better. I am deeply sorry.” 

Angel Reese dribbles

Angel Reese #10 of the LSU Tigers drives against Christeen Iwuala #22 of the UCLA Bruins during the first half in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament at MVP Arena on March 30, 2024 in Albany, New York.  (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)


The LA Times updated the column with an editor’s note on Monday that said it was “edited to remove language that was inappropriate and offensive” after finding that the original version “did not meet Times editorial standards.”

“We apologize to the LSU basketball program and to our readers,” the note added. 

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