SJ Magazine, a New Jersey-based publication owned by women, has canceled an upcoming event on “women empowerment” after an online backlash over the panel’s all-male makeup.

“As a women-owned business, women’s empowerment has always been part of our mission statement,” the magazine said in canceling the event. “We believe it is helpful when everyone is part of the conversation on women’s empowerment and feminism.”

The panel, titled “Women in Business: A man’s point of view,” was scheduled to take place Nov. 6. and feature ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio, Rowan University President Dr. Ali Houshmand, Virtua President and CEO Richard Miller and N.J. State Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald.

“I’m still trying to wrap my head around how anyone could possibly think this up,” wrote Politico New Jersey bureau chief Ryan Hutchins. Greenwald announced he was pulling out of the event before the magazine canceled it.

“I was asked to participate on a panel for an issue I care deeply about. As a son watching my mother break the glass ceiling in politics and as a father of two daughters, I have a passion for the pursuit of equality,” Greenwald tweeted Monday night. “In light of a full understanding of the composition of this panel, I will be withdrawing from participating and offering my seat instead to someone who can bring a more diverse and inclusive point of view to this critical issue.”

The criticism of the event, which was first promoted Monday on Twitter by SJ Magazine, was swift and intense, especially after the magazine insisted “no mansplaining allowed” in a subsequent tweet.

“Because the man’s point of view is so rarely voiced?” tweeted Karen Kessler, a prominent crisis manager based in Warren, New Jersey.

The criticism was widespread, with actress Alyssa Milano and comedian Aparna Nancherla among those questioning the decision to have four men discuss female empowerment.

It wasn’t going to be the first time that the magazine has hosted an all-male panel. Last November it invited four men to talk about sexism, promoting equality at workplaces, and what happens when women cry at work, among other topics. The magazine acknowledged the event was a gamble.

“We tried something different this year – gathering a panel of men to talk to an audience of women about women in business,” the magazine said. “It was a risk. We had no idea what would happen. But in the end, the night was extraordinary. Four successful men were open, honest and direct as they discussed their experiences with women in the workforce.”

The four men were 6ABC anchor Rick Williams, Atlantic City Electric president Vincent Maione, Cooper University Health Care senior executive vice president Anthony Mazzarelli, and TD Bank’s South Jersey market president, Rob Curley.

The upcoming panel was scheduled to be SJ Magazine’s third in a four-part series on women’s empowerment. An event scheduled for Dec. 4 titled “Success Stories: Taking charge without wearing a suit and tie” features an all-female panel.

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