National Geographic has responded to Portland endurance athlete Colin O'Brady's public rebuttal to the magazine's controversial article claiming he embellished details of his history-making solo expedition across Antarctica, saying it stands by the article and will not honor O'Brady's request for a retraction.
On Feb. 2, in a piece titled "The Problem with Colin O'Brady," journalist Aaron Teasdale quotes several polar experts who question O'Brady's claim to being the first person to cross the continent alone using only his own manpower and without any outside assistance.
Last week, 48 explorers, including author Jon Krakauer and Borge Ousland, the man many credit with accomplishing the first true unassisted crossing of Antarctica, released a joint letter supporting the article and announcing a new system for classifying polar expeditions.
In response to National Geographic, on Feb. 13, O'Brady issued a 16-page, point-by-point refutation of the article's main allegations against him, writing that the piece "misrepresents a historic polar expedition by omitting key facts and fails to contextualize a number of items," and asking for a full retraction.
In a statement released today, National Geographic wrote that it "stands by our February 3rd article written by Aaron Teasdale about adventurer Colin O'Brady. The recent statement made by members of the professional polar community underscores the article's accuracy. We respectfully reject Mr. O'Brady's request to retract the article."
On Instagram, prior to the response from National Geographic, O'Brady wrote that he received a separate reply from the magazine's Editor-In-Chief, Susan Goldberg, informing him that "several corrections" had been made to the original article. (A representative from National Geographic tells WW that Goldberg did not use the word "corrections" and instead wrote that the magazine would "issue three clarifications.") The article is now appended with a editor's note, dated Feb. 26, saying that the story has been "updated for clarity."
"It's not my intention to expend any more energy on this," O'Brady concluded.
The Impossible First, O'Brady's book about his Antarctica trek, was published in January.