New YorkNewsPressSan Francisco

When Voice Media Group Wrote Hateful Things

In April 2010 Phoenix New Times, a weekly publication in Western Arizona,  published a satirical op-ed titled Jew Roundup–They’re Pouring Over the Canadian Border to Flood Graduate Schools and Bank Parking Lots. Legislation From State Senator Mark Pearce Aims to Make Them Rue the Day Entered Arizona. 

Image from Phoenix New Times' Jew Roundup.

Image from Phoenix New Times’ Jew Roundup.

Sandy McClendon, an American Jewish man, told me that Jew Roundup reminded him of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the infamous fabricated text first published in Russia in 1903. Protocols was said to be the minutes of a meeting by Jewish leaders who were plotting world domination–it was actually written by an anti-Semite. That “meeting” never took place.

Toby Ross, a gay Jewish man in Chicago, compared Jew Roundup to ridiculing the lynchings of African Americans in the American South.

“There’s a reason we don’t make jokes like that,” Ross told me.

Phoenix New Times is owned by Denver based Voice Media Group. The company was previously known as Village Voice Media.

Jews are not the only group targeted by Voice Media Group publications–the company’s writers and editors have a long tradition of going out of their way to hurt and offend people under the guise of being “edgy”.  And there’s never been a shortage of gay/lesbian writers willing to participate in this cesspool.

Just ask any bisexual what they think of gay writer Michael Musto’s shameful Ever Meet a Real Bisexual?  written for Village Voice, Voice Media Group’s New York City outlet. One has to wonder why Musto and his editors think its “witty” to denigrate an entire group of people.

And let’s not forget about the time the Transgender Law Center had to publicly ask SF Weekly to stop posting misleading and potentially harmful falsehoods about the transgender community, which SF Weekly had done numerous times. (Voice Media Group has since sold SF Weekly to another publisher. Thankfully the paper’s current editors are supportive of the trans community.)

Then there’s the sad tale of Arthur Teele, a former Miami City commissioner who has been under investigation for money laundering. In 2005 Voice Media Group’s Miami New Times published a scathing expose on Teele which included claims of his dalliances with male prostitutes and mistresses–those claims are now believed to have been fabricated. The money laundering charges were never proven true. On the day Miami New Times published its story, Arthur Teele blew his brains out.

It seems to never end. A few years ago CNN’s Anderson Cooper broke the story that New Times/Village Voice Media had been accepting ads from child sex traffickers though Backpage.com, then its classified portal. This practice was publicly defended by Steve Suskin, the company’s legal council, as well as by company founder Michael Lacey, author of Jew Roundup. Suskin claimed that the company “wasn’t responsible” for postings by third parties and refused to reject or delete the sex slavery ads.

Note that the ads in question weren’t being posted by adult sex workers who had made a choice–nothing wrong with sex work if that’s what a grown-up chooses to do. But these were ads in which kids were being sold into forced sex slavery.

In spite of these disturbing policies, scores of gay activists continue to consider Voice Media Group publications to be their “allies”.

I personally found out the hard way how hateful some of  their writers actually are.

In 2008 Kathryn Rock and Stephen Polich, a conservative, Christian identified couple in the Phoenix suburb of Surprise Arizona, took out a restraining order against me and then proceeded to harass me while the order was in effect. Among other things, Rock impersonated me online, bombarded me with anti-Semitic emails (“You emasculated Jewish bitch”, “you ignorant Zionist fool”), as well as emails referring to the “disgusting homosexual acts” which Rock and Polich feel I indulge in–these were but some of the things the couple did in the name of their Lord Jesus Christ.

I informed Judge Gerald Williams of the North Valley Justice Court in Surprise of how Rock and Polich were carrying on. The judge, who had signed the Order of Protection, assured me he would do nothing about it.  Judge Williams is a supporter of the virulently anti-gay Tea Party, so his unethical behavior was not unexpected.

Rock and Polich were trying to stop me from contacting my former life-partner, who was then a live in nanny to their toddler. I had been trying to reach Beecher because he had received mail at the apartment we once shared. I also wanted him to turn off a telephone land line which was solely in his name and which I was still paying for–that phone line eventually ended up on Beecher’s credit report when I got tired of paying those bills. Rock and Polich did not want Beecher to be in contact with Jews or “faggots”.

In the Fall of 2008 my name was splattered in headlines across the Phoenix New Times. Niki D’Andrea, the author of the stories, implied that I was paranoid–because homophobia and anti-Semitism don’t exist, we all “need therapy” because we think they do. D’Andrea further stated that I’m bi-polar (I’m not) and made an issue out of my being Jewish, which I had yet to bring up to anyone. She also misquoted me repeatedly, actually making several quotes up. I showed D’Andrea some of the abusive correspondence sent to me by Kathryn Rock and Stephen Polich and told her of the mail tampering.

“My editors and I agreed to ignore your documentation,” D’Andrea told me. “But I’m an out lesbian, which makes it OK.” As a gay man I was stunned by D’Andrea’s declaration.

A little over two years later Rock and Polich were still harassing me. In December 2010 Officer Mark King and Detective Michael Jalbert of the Surprise Arizona police visited the Rock/Polich residence and advised them to cease these actions after Kathryn Rock had begun posting inflammatory videos about me online. Those videos were deleted from the web at Officer King’s “suggestion”, though I still have one of them burned onto a DVD.

Far more disturbing to me than the posting of those videos was the declaration by Beecher, my ex, to Officer King that he was well aware of what Kathryn Rock and Stephen Polich had been doing. Beecher freely admitted to the police that Rock and Polich had harassed me repeatedly and that Rock had impersonated both of us in a variety of online venues, as she did in the comments section of this blog posting which has nothing to do with any of us. The blogger, known as Chazonator, is a personal friend of mine whom Rock had begun harassing in order to piss me off.

When I told D’Andrea and her editor Rick Barrs about about this, they laughed. They also refused to make any changes to stories they knew were filled with intentionally misleading falsehoods. As Adweek reported neither D’Andrea nor Barrs were terribly concerned with mundane trivialities like fact checking.

For the next six years, one gay activist after another used Niki D’Andrea’s fake stories as a weapon against me–this included eight separate incidents in which so called “activists” forwarded D’Andrea’s lies to my editors in attempts to have my livelihood taken away from me.

In 2013, three years after the Arizona police intervened on my behalf,  Matt Comer, then the editor of Q Notes, the LGBT publication in Charlotte North Carolina, email blasted every publication I had ever contributed to, including overseas publications, and offered them “information” on my legal history with my ex. You can read here about what Q Note’s publisher had to say about Comer’s lack of ethics when Comer was fired from the paper.

In 2014 Cathy Brennan, a self-described “radical lesbian feminist” engaged in a bitter vendetta against the entire transgender community put my name in headlines and made snarky references to my mental health and to the lies which D’Andrea had posted. Brennan was upset when I declined to support her abominable behavior, which includes emailing transwomen’s personal physicians.  Thousands and thousands of people have signed petitions against Brennan or publicly claimed to have been targeted by Brennan’s inflammatory and often abusive conduct.

At this point it was six years since Niki D’Andrea had intentionally inflamed all that hate. The sick behavior just went on and on.

Eventually I had no choice but to face the sad truth: the conduct of Voice Media Group/Village Voice Media was reflective of how far too many gay and lesbian activists behave while claiming to stand for “equality” and “social justice”.

Around two weeks ago I spoke on the phone to Andy Van De Voorde, current Executive Associate Editor at Voice Media Group. I asked him if Niki D’Andrea’s behavior or the Jew Roundup piece were the kind of stories he wanted his publications to produce, as well as what he had to say regarding Suskin’s defending of the sex trafficking ads. Van De Voorde ended the call without answering the question. He did tell me that he would take no action towards deleting the offending posts—including Jew Roundup and the story which cost Arthur Teele his life.

Are you listening, GLAAD and Anti-Defamation League?

Why are gay and lesbian writers helping to inflame all this hate? Why are so many gay and lesbian activists aligning themselves with these publications? And why does Voice Media Group see nothing wrong with their behavior?

Might white privilege be the problem here?

The perpetrators are, in fact,  all white, and this is without exception. They remain very self-entitled about their atrocious conduct.

Stay tuned for part two, We Need to Talk About White People, coming shortly.

Like this article? Make sure to sign up for our mailing list so you never miss a goddamn thing!
Previous post

The Rev at The Utah

Next post

Colin Kaepernick Gave Away His Suits to Parolees


David Elijah Nahmod

David Elijah Nahmod

I, David-Elijah Nahmod am a Queer, American/Israeli half breed who has lived in New York City and Tel Aviv.
Currently in San Francisco, my eclectic writing career includes LGBT publications (news and entertainment) and monster magazines. In 2012 I was voted Film Reviewer of the Year at the Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Film Awards.
Look for me in Bay Area Reporter, Hoodline.com, South Florida Gay News, Echo Magazine, Outfront, Scary Monsters Magazine, Videoscope, and, of course, Broke Ass Stuart, (I'm so broke it's SCARY!)
Now, let's watch a horror movie!