The #BoycottLAWeekly Campaign Is Only Beginning
Last year, the LA Weekly — one of America’s most read and highly acclaimed alt-newspapers — was purchased by a shadowy cabal of right-wing developers and businessmen from Orange County called Semanal Media. The new owners decimated the staff, firing 90% of their employees and busting their union. They also destroyed the Weekly’s reputation as a subculture news source by installing Brian Calle, a Trump supporting, self-described “free market enthusiast,” as editor in chief.
The case of the LA Weekly is sadly all too typical in today’s media landscape. From Gawker to Gothamist, we have seen a pattern of underhanded and deliberate hijacking of left-wing and independent media outlets. But this time, the former staff of LA Weekly decided to fight back by launching a boycott campaign which they’ve named “#BoycottLAWeekly.”
As we noted last year, we, the members of #HollywoodLabor, a subcommittee within the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) Los Angeles, stand in solidarity with the #BoycottLAweekly. #HollywoodLabor recognizes the importance of supporting worker-led movements, especially within our own industry. We are eager and honored to join #BoycottLAWeekly and provide material support in their struggle.
In the last few weeks, our efforts were dedicated to shutting down the LA Weekly Essentials event, a “food and wine festival” of LA’s best eateries, that in the years before Semanal’s acquisition cemented the paper’s role as a culinary tastemaker. After a campaign of daily phonebanking involving members of #BoycottLAWeekly, #HollywoodLabor and DSA-LA, we are proud to announce our efforts not only led to over half the restaurants dropping out, but also to the cancellation of the entire event.
The implications of this victory are grand, providing what we believe to be a model for similar fights in the future. Successful campaigns like this one are living proof that the power of the many is stronger than the power of the wealthy few.
Today, we celebrate our victory. The work done by our partners in #BoycottLAWeekly, our fellow DSA comrades, and concerned Angelenos who made even just one call inspires us as organizers. Even though this is only one struggle in a longer fight, we feel galvanized for the battles ahead.
The time has come for workers in the media and entertainment industries to organize against the forces that seek to exploit us and our communities.