On the heels of his controversial column suggesting sexual assault victims attain “a coveted status that confers privileges,” conservative Washington Post writer George Will has been dropped from syndication in the pages of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Image source: AP/Scott Applewhite

AP/Scott Applewhite

Tony Messenger, the paper’s editorial page editor, announced Thursday that the move “has been under consideration for several months” and that the Post-Dispatch had “heard from both conservative and liberal readers asking for new conservative voices.”

The “offensive and inaccurate” piece Will wrote earlier this month “made the decision easier,” Messenger said, adding: “We apologize for publishing it.”

Another Washington Post columnist, Michael Gerson, is replacing Will on Thursdays and Sundays:

Mr. Gerson, who grew up in St. Louis and still has family here, is a former speechwriter and top aide to President George W. Bush. (To answer the classic St. Louis question: Westminster Christian Academy).

Mr. Gerson had served as a speechwriter for Republican presidential candidates Jack Kemp and Bob Dole, and is a former senior editor at the U.S. News & World Report.

We believe that Mr. Gerson’s commitment to “compassionate conservatism” and his roots in St. Louis will better connect with our readers, regardless of their political bent.

Will’s column sparked outrage, including an appeal from the spouse of a White House official who called on the Washington Post to fire Will. Nita Chaudhary — a longtime Democratic party activist and the wife of Jesse Lee, the director of progressive media and online response at the White House — co-founded liberal group UltraViolet, which issued a petition demanding: “Tell The Washington Post: Rape is real. No one wants to be a victim. Fire George Will.”

Will’s bio on the Washington Post reads:

George Will is one of the most widely recognized, and widely read, writers in the world. With more than 450 newspapers and his appearances as a political commentator on FOX, Will may be the most influential writer in America.

Will began his syndicated column with The Writers Group on January 1, 1974, just four months after The Writers Group was founded by Ben Bradlee and Katharine Graham. Two years later, Will started a column for Newsweek which ran bi-weekly for more than three decades.

(H/T: Think Progress)