The outcry against LA Weekly’s new owners, which had already caused some advertisers to step back, now has also pushed away potential investor Erwin Chemerinsky.
And several vendors slated to offer drinks and desserts at the alternative newsweekly’s upcoming Sips and Sweets festival have decided to sit out the event.
Chemerinsky — who is the dean of UC Berkeley’s law school — confirmed Wednesday that he will not invest in newly created Semanal Media, which bought LA Weekly from Voice Media Group last week. “Many issues have arisen and I simply don’t have the time to be involved,” he said in an email.
Most of LA Weekly’s journalists and all but one of its staff writers lost their jobs last week as the sale went through. As the secretive investors behind Semanal revealed their identities Friday, the backlash intensified.
There has been outcry over the backgrounds of the progressive Weekly’s new owners — most of whom have Orange County roots and have donated or worked for Republican political candidates or conservative causes — as well as their plan to use articles by unpaid contributors.
Former Weekly writers are spearheading a call for a boycott of the paper and plan to hold a protest outside its Culver City office Friday.
The boycott push includes urging companies to stop advertising with LA Weekly or sponsoring or participating in its events. One target: the Sips and Sweets event scheduled for next week. The annual event is a moneymaker for the publication. General admission tickets cost $45, and the event’s website predicts more than 2,000 attendees.
In the last few days, sponsors Amoeba Music and Angel City Brewery yanked their funding, and several vendors have withdrawn.
“So many restaurants, bars and sponsors were pulling out that it didn't seem to be a viable event this year,” publicist Jannis Swerman said in an email. Swermann represents A.O.C. wine bar, Lucques, Nerano, Tavern, the Pikey and the Roger Room, all of which have decided not to participate.
Other food and drink purveyors that have pulled out are Angel City Brewery, Ococoa, Otium, Resident and Wanderlust Creamery.