Atlanta Free Press is down (another) editor and an art director, but is apparently still breathing. With the way things have gone for them since opening Dec. 10, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if their offices were attacked by piranha. Big gay piranha.
So the LGBT news publication last went through its share of drama in late December when their editor resigned after it was revealed he had been fired from Southern Voice for fabricating quotes and sources. This time around, a story by Atlanta Progressive News claims that AFP had "apparently" ceased production because, well, no one can find it. APN did a search throughout the citys LGBT-frequented businesses and could not find any issues available.
AFP publisher and Nightlife Media Group co-owner Matt Neumann told CL that Atlanta Free Press is still in business but was not able to pull together the last two weeks issues after parting ways with Interim Editor Xanna Dont over creative differences. Neumann says that he and Dont got into what he called a pissing match over the editorial direction of the paper. In particular, the publisher thought Dont was giving too much coverage to lesbian-related stories and events, and he wanted more of a newsy focus as opposed to a nightlife focus.
It wasnt going in the direction that I wanted it to go, Neumann says. I thought that it was better at this time to do a restart rather than put out something that was going to be another problem.
Neumann also said that he and Dont clashed over whether or not to let a paid advertiser place an editorial in the paper---typically a big no-no. AFP was about to run an ad for the play A Sordid Affair and Neumann wanted to run an article written by the plays producers.
They took out two full-page ads in the paper, said Neumann. If they want to write a story about the play that sounds self-serving then honestly, so what? Were not talking about a political indiscretion here, were talking about a play promoting a play.
While Dont confirmed her opposition to the Sordid Affair editorial, she said that the reason the last two weeks issues never hit the streets was because no one was getting paid.
They owe me money, they owe Loren [Hoffman, art director] money, they owe the printer money, says Dont. And thats why there is no more ATL Free Press.
Hoffman backed up that claim, while also saying that Nightlife Media Group co-publisher Chip OKelley misled her about why one of the issues didnt get printed.
OKelley reportedly told Hoffman that the reason the issue didnt print was because the file Hoffman sent to the printer was corrupt. Hoffman called the printer, Chris Lewis, who reportedly told her that the file wasnt corrupt and that the reason it wasnt printed was that Nightlife Media Group had not paid him.
The only thing they had to do was pay the printer and they couldnt do that, says Hoffman.
Lewis, the printer, refused comment to CL and directed all questions to Neumann.
Neumann disputes Don't and Hoffman's claims, saying, "They were operating well outside of the budget and I had to put a stop to it."
He claims Don't has been paid in full and that Hoffman is paid in full as well, with the exception of an invoice submitted last week. He also says the printer is "fine" and that a new issue of Atlanta Free Press is ready to go and will hit the streets this Thursday, Feb. 4.
Neumann also said he is recruiting a new staff to produce content and is ordering new newspaper boxes adorned with the AFP logo.
Regardless of the particulars, this is the second major setback to Atlanta Free Press in less than two months in existence. Until the third, please enjoy. We'll continue to keep you posted on all the shenanigans.
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