On November 29, the majority of LA Weekly's editorial staff was abruptly fired by the paper's new owners, a company created solely for the sale called Semanal Media who purchased the paper from Voice Media Group in October and declined to reveal the identities of its new ownership.
In the days following the news, OC Weekly confirmed that the group of investors who purchased LA Weekly are major donors to Republican candidates and PACs. The paper's manager and part-owner Brian Calle has ties to the Koch brothers and was formerly the vice president of right-wing think tank The Claremont Institute, whose mission statement outlines a plan to "defeat progressivism" by using "positions of power and influence in government, the courts, academia, and the media."
Over the past week, LA Weekly's former editors and writers, led by film critic April Wolfe and music columnist Jeff Weiss, have organized a boycott of the paper, calling on advertisers and investors to withdraw their financial support. L.A. music venues The Echo and The Regent Theater have joined the boycott, as has concert promoters Spaceland Presents and indie hip-hop label Mello Music Group. Amoeba Music has also pulled their advertisements from the paper. On Tuesday, UC Berkeley Law School Dean Erwin Chemerinsky told OC Weekly he would no longer be investing in Semanal Media.
In a statement to The FADER, Jeff Weiss wrote:
In the last 24 hours, the efforts of #BoycottLAWeekly have resulted in over 10 sponsors and print advertisers canceling their participation in events, and rescinding ads from the papers of the newspaper. Thanks to their actions and the efforts of regular concerned citizens, it's becoming rapidly impossible for the LA Weekly to continue as a publication. In every action and gesture, Semanal Media has displayed a cavalier disregard and disdain for the city of Los Angeles, its storied cultural history, and the award-winning journalism that the Weekly has produced over nearly 40 years.
We'd need Robert Mueller to fully catalog the extent of their political misdeeds, which include support of private prisons, pro-life causes, a seething contempt for unions, and appearing in what seems to be a Russian propaganda film. They donated $25,000 to Donald Trump's Victory committee, but claim they can't afford to pay contributors. Their unacceptable behavior and beliefs won't be tolerated in Los Angeles, and it's only the beginning. We won't stop until Brian Calle sells the paper, leaves town, and has an epitaph that reads: "I made a huge mistake."