Moira Smith was a 9/11 first-responder who rescued dozens of people from the North Tower before dying when the South Tower collapsed. She was given one of Glamour magazine’s “Woman of the Year” awards for 2001…but, now, her husband has returned Glamour‘s award, and done so with fervor. Why? According to James Smith’s open letter, he is offended by the magazine’s decision to grant Caitlyn Jenner the Hero award for 2015.
Smith, 38, was one of 23 New York City police officers–and the only woman–who died on September 11th, 2001. She helped pull approximately 100 people from the rubble after the North Tower was struck; you can see a photo of Smith helping a bloodied man on 9/11 here.
In light of Smith’s extraordinary sacrifice, Glamour awarded her with one of its “Woman of the Year” trophies, which Moira’s husband James Smith accepted in her honor. However, last week, James reportedly shipped the “Hero” award back to Glamour‘s office, along with an open letter later published elsewhere, in protest of the magazine’s selection of Caitlyn Jenner as its Hero for 2015.
Smith decided to emphasize his point by using Jenner’s pre-transition name in his letter: “I was shocked and saddened to learn that Glamour has just named Bruce Jenner ‘Woman of the Year,'” he wrote. “Was there no woman in America, or the rest of the world, more deserving than this man?
“I can only guess that this was a publicity stunt meant to resuscitate a dying medium,” Smith continued. “After discussing this slap in the face to the memory of our Hero with my family, I have decided to return Moira’s award to Glamour magazine.”
Glamour handed out its awards in a Carnegie Hall ceremony last week, and uploaded a clip of Caitlyn Jenner discussing her award to its Instagram page shortly after:
After learning of James Smith’s decision, the magazine stood by its own: “We were proud to honor [Moira Smith] in 2001, and we stand by our decision to honor Caitlyn Jenner,” said a Glamour spokeswoman. “Glamour’s Women of the Year Awards recognize women with a variety of backgrounds and experiences.”
This isn’t the first time that Caitlyn Jenner has been at the center of controversy over an award for heroism. Earlier this year, critics accused ESPN of trying to drive up ratings when it gave Caitlyn the ESPY Award for Courage.
Caitlyn has not offered a comment on the Glamour controversy.