LA Weekly has been around since 1978. Recently, however, Voice Media Group sold the outlet to the newly created start-up, Semanal Media, as reported by the LA Times on November 29th, 2017.
Former editor-in-chief, Mara Shalhoup, took to Twitter to lament the changing of the guard and the culling of her troops following Semanal Media’s completion of the buyout. Over the course of multiple tweets, Shalhoup explained…
“We were expecting there to be some pain with the sale of [LA Weekly]. But we weren’t expecting the Red Wedding. That’s how deep the cuts are. But first let me say what an incredible honor it has been to work at this legendary place, with this dream team of journalists.
The dream team—who recently earned 21 [LA Press Club] nominations—has been eviscerated. Nine of 13 editorial staffers are gone, including all five editors and all but one staff writer.
According to the reports, the print edition has also been axed.
Staff members Drew Tewksbury, Gwynedd Stuart, Andy Hermann, Katherine Spiers, Jason McGahan, Dennis Romero, April Wolfe, and Garry Santos have all been laid off from the outlet.
The only ones who were kept on were Darrick Rainey, Lisa Horowitz, Hillel Aron and Falling James.
LA Weekly was one of the many media outlets who attacked #GamerGate, pushing and pursuing the false (and debunked) narrative that the consumer revolt was a harassment campaign.
On December 17th, 2014 the LA Weekly’s David Cotner made an offhanded remark about the “turmoil of GamerGate”. The brief attack was actually vague in its depiction, but it was made quite clear which side the outlet came down on when they published a piece by Jonny Coleman on October 18th, 2016, where he took a more decided dig at the grassroots consumer revolt, writing…
” Gamergate, for instance, is proof that self-proclaimed “nerds,” who apply the label to come off as mild mannered, are just as capable of the most craven, vicious and bullish behavior as your average MRA bro, no matter their interests,”
And finally, on January 19th, 2017 the site published an article from Michael Ciriaco entitled “All-Female D&D Campaign Girls Guts Glory Creates a Safe Space for Gamer Girls”.
Ciriaco goes the extra mile to reiterate every known falsehood about #GamerGate within the span of a paragraph, writing…
“Safe spaces are often a necessity for women in the gaming community, as demonstrated by the Gamergate controversy that began in 2014, when female gamers were the targets of misogynistic harassment. The controversy began when an ex-boyfriend of game developer Zoe Quinn blogged a defamatory post about her, which was followed by a flood of false accusations, organized under the hashtag #gamergate on social media, that Quinn had entered into an intimate relationship with a journalist in exchange for positive press coverage. This soon escalated into an avalanche of rape and murder threats against Quinn, both on social media and in real life, and quickly spiraled into a broad funneling of frustrations by “hardcore gamers” against the perceived invasion of women and politically correct journalists within their nerd niche.
“It’s not difficult to draw the parallels between the misogyny of Gamergate and Trump’s current “grab them by the pussy” political climate. “
The short of it is: There has never been evidence that #GamerGate was a harassment campaign. There is ample evidence that #GamerGate was used to expose corruption in the media.
The FBI basically absolved the movement after they came away with nothing but sprinklings and inklings of harassment concocted by third-party trolls who attempted to get a rise out of everyone. However, the investigation concluded with the FBI noting that there was no actionable evidence indicating that #GamerGate was a harassment campaign, hence they closed the investigation after nine months.
You can actually read through the entire FBI report, which is currently available for public viewing.
In a way, it can only be perceived as a good thing if the editors in charge who allowed such falsehoods to persist on their website have been removed from their positions. If they weren’t willing to stand by truth, publish the facts, or attempt to fact-check their work, then there’s nothing lost from having Semanal Media “eviscerate” the staff of LA Weekly.
Hopefully whoever steps into their place does a better job of ensuring that LA Weekly adheres to sticking to publishing the facts.
(Main image courtesy of Gashi-Gashi)