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L.A. Weekly Launches Online Campaign Against ‘Bullies’ Calling for Boycott

4:13 PM PDT on April 2, 2018

The embattled LA Weekly management is fighting back against what they are calling lies, harassment, and "bullying" by a group leading a boycott against the paper's new owners. On Monday the Weekly launched an online campaign aimed at getting their side of the story across.

"A small but aggressive and deceitful group of bullies is using harassment and intimidation to spread lies about L.A. Weekly," the website states. "They are intent on limiting free speech and attempting to shutter our publication, which for 40 years has given a voice to the people of Los Angeles and covered the stories that other media ignore."

The campaign does not expressly name the #BoycottLAWeekly movement, which has been actively seeking ways to pressure the new management, Semanal Media, to sell the Weekly. #BoycottLAWeekly supporters say Semanal's owner's conservative history is detrimental to the LA Weekly's history of progressive media. More on that here.

The boycott campaign pressured enough vendors to back out of the Weekly's annual Essentials event. #BoycottLAWeekly celebrated the shutdown of the Essentials event last month as a victory on social media.

RELATED: L.A. Media Update: A Weekly  ‘Funeral’ Meets New Editor

Joel Lara, a marketing associate currently at LA Weekly, says the event was canceled due to harassment. "It [came] down to the bullying of the restaurants from the boycotters," Lara told L.A. Taco. Lara said restaurants felt threatened and pulled out.

Lara has been working with the LA Weekly since 2013 and was let go initially with other staff, but was brought back on shortly after. Lara wasn't familiar with Brian Calle, one of the new owners that has been at the center of many reports highlighting the new ownership's libertarian ties, but had concerns over new management after finding reports online of his history. After meeting with Calle and "clearing the air," Lara said he decided to come back on.

Since Calle and the other new owners have taken over, #BoycottLAWeekly has called them out ethical practices and other concerns. The LA Weekly is using the site to directly address allegations brought up by the #BoycottLAWeekly movement, including accusations of plagiarizing and of union busting. The site also lists the Weekly's new owners and bios.

The Weekly is asking its readers to spread their side of the story and to report cyber bullies. The Weekly says local journalism is under attack by bullies. It states while some owners have donated to Republicans, others have donated to Democrats: "The politics of the owners have NOTHING to do with the editorial coverage and direction of the L.A. Weekly. All the owners support the continued success of the Weekly and its historic mission to Speak Freely."

It also states that new owners come from a variety of backgrounds including gay, immigrant, and people of color.

"My concern is that the paper remains what it's been and [Calle's] right on board with it," Lara said.

RELATED: Former Staff and Freelancers Of L.A. Weekly Have Launched a #BoycottLAWeekly Site

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