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Media Unrest: Projo Takes Strip Club Ads, Globe Suspends Pulitzer Prize Winner

Monday, June 18, 2018

 

The newspaper industry in New England is making a lot of news these days. This past week newspapers across the country hit a number of speed bumps and in New England, top reporters were being suspended and questions have emerged about advertising policies in the #MeToo era.

In Providence, the Providence Journal is running strip club ads on the homepage of its website. The promotion of the Foxy Lady a club that claims, “If you're looking for a little more privacy during your visit to Foxy Lady, step into our Champagne Room. This area features special services and exciting shows from our beautiful ladies,” ran as the top ad position on the homepage.

Managing Editor Alan Rosenberg refused to respond to questions about the newspaper’s policy regarding advertising and specifically accepting ads from strip clubs. In other cities newspapers have come under criticism for taking ads promoting strip clubs. 

Earlier this year, Providence Journal columnist Mark Patinkin mysteriously left the pages of the Providence Journal for a period of time after a GoLocal article unveiled his social media posts which contained sexist comments.

Patinkin's social media posts referencing "bitches," "hoes," -- and even Harvey Weinstein -- on his Instagram page were decried by female leaders in Rhode Island. 

Patinkin, under the moniker "Swagless Dad," calls himself a single dad, "Heinz slut," and has amassed over 45,000 followers -- and lists on his Instagram profile his professional role as a Providence Journal columnist. 

"I thought a robe or two might make good holiday gifts but Harvey Weinstein fucked that one up for me," wrote Patinkin in one "Swagless Dad" post. 

"People be saying dads can't have swag...yeah how you like me now, bitches," wrote Patinkin in another. 

"Of course, the content is obscene and demeaning to women, particularly those who have bravely stepped forward to share their stories of sexual harassment. The person who posted obviously has total disregard for why sexual harassment is a problem and continues to be pervasive in our culture," said Kelly Nevins with The Women's Fund of RI.

Patinkin disappeared from the pages of the newspaper for approximately a month. The Providence Journal refused to explain his disappearance. Rosenberg issued an apology after the GoLocal story appeared, “I want to apologize, on behalf of The Providence Journal, for these unacceptable posts, which do not reflect our opinions or values. They were not in the tradition of The Journal, which is to hold our work to the highest standards, wherever it is published.”

Strip club ads have been accepted in the past in the newspaper in print edition - primarily limited to the sports page. The online version was criticized for running strip club ads in the high school sports section previously.

Strip Clubs Ads Under Fire

In other cities, the advertising of strip clubs has come under fire as a policy.

In Minneapolis, the city’s convention bureau was criticized for accepting ads from a strip club. The Star Tribune reported:

Kristen Montag, senior public relations and communications manager for Meet Minneapolis, said the publication has been owned and produced by Greenspring media since 1996 and that the city convention bureau "and its channels" are under contract to distribute the guide.

She called the guide a "valuable resource full of information on our neighborhoods, our attractions and our area businesses."

But she said, "We fully acknowledge that these ads, while for legal, licensed businesses, detract from the positive messages about the city within the publication. We are disappointed that Greenspring included these advertisements and we have asked them to revisit their advertising policies in the future."

In Bremerton, Washington, the Kitsap Sun reported:

A full-page advertisement in the Olympic College student newspaper enticing female students to apply for jobs at a local strip club has caused a stir among students.

The advertisement for Toys Topless in Gorst features five scantily-clad young women in provocative poses. It began running on the back page of The Olympian newspaper of Olympic College in February and is paid to run through May in six issues of the bi-monthly student-run publication.

About 20 to 25 students demonstrated against the ad on Wednesday. During classes, and as rain fell, the group diminished to about nine.

"This isn't about Toys, this isn't about the college, it's about the newspaper," said student Tracy Kendrick of Bremerton, who is president of the college's Black Student Union.

Kendrick called the ad demeaning and objected to its publication in a student newspaper partially supported by student fees.

Globe's Kevin Cullen suspended for 3 months

Boston Globe’s Pulitzer Prize Winner Suspended

Pulitzer Prize-winning Boston Globe columnist Kevin Cullen has been suspended without pay for three months after “serious violations.”

The controversy centers on remarks Cullen made about the Boston Marathon bombings.  Cullen was a member of the Globe team that won the Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of the terror attack. It was found that his comments were false.

The Globe’s union has announced that they will fight the disciplinary action by the Globe.

Scott Steeves, president of the Boston Newspaper Guild, told the Boston Herald Cullen will take his case to arbitration.

“Kevin looks forward to defending himself,” Steeves said to the Herald. “The guild stands behind Kevin 100 percent.”

As GoLocal previously reported, in April, allegations raised on the WEEI radio show “Kirk & Callahan” against Boston Globe columnist Kevin Cullen were validated when the paper announced that it was placing him on “paid administrative leave,” pending a thorough examination of his work. Claims pending against Cullen are that some of his work was fabricated.

The Globe also announced that Cullen will be demoted to general assignment reporter for the first two months upon his return before being allowed to write his column again.

The announcement of Cullen’s discipline was made by the Globe owner John Henry and managing editor Brian McGory.

McGory, himself is under an internal Globe review as former Globe employee — former Editor at the Globe’s Boston.com Hilary Sargent is alleging that she was sexually harassed by McGrory.  Under his leadership, the Globe has won a number of Pulitzer Prizes — including for the paper’s coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing. In 2017, owner John Henry dismissed eight of the top executives on the business side.

Sargent, when at the paper, had gotten into hot water a number of times during her tenure as an editor at Boston.com — the sister digital publication to the Boston Globe.

“Boston.com deputy editor Hilary Sargent has been suspended for one week in connection with a T-shirt she designed—and then tweeted about—that mocked a Harvard Business School professor at the center of an ongoing story she was covering…Word is that the suspension isn’t related to an article that Sargent retracted on Wednesday with an acknowledgment that its facts couldn’t be verified. Details weren’t immediately available about whether the suspension comes with pay or not,” wrote Boston Innno in 2014.

She has released to the media a copy of a text message that appears to fall into the category of sexual harassment if it was sent during the period in which she was employed by the Globe. There is no date mark on the text.

 

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