Gay Newspaper Kills Critical Stories
Last week's spiked story, a column written by John Primeau, was largely a response to a feature published two weeks ago in The Stranger ["The Immoral Minority," Eli Sanders, June 5]. Primeau's piece suggested that "maybe heads should roll" at local gay men's health organizations, praised The Stranger's article, and called on gay men to show more responsibility in their sexual behavior. After the story was spiked, Primeau sent an e-mail to The Stranger saying he'd quit writing for SGN: "At my age (55), life really is too short to put up with their kind of unprofessional shit."
In another e-mail, Primeau, who said his column was "axed" by Bakan, wrote: "I had written an extremely well-balanced piece and interviewed about 20 people, straight and gay, regarding issues centering on the HIV/STDs increase."
Bakan says he's not trying to muzzle his writers. "What sort of paranoid view do you guys [The Stranger] have over there?" he asked. "I wanted to review with [the writers] what they were saying and why." Bakan says Primeau was brought on to write about topics affecting older gay men and that last week's column strayed outside those parameters. "If he wants to write it as a letter to the editor, that's fine," Bakan said. Or, he suggested, "Why don't you guys run his stuff?"
The Stranger is doing just that. We're making Primeau's story--along with a story by Beau Burriola, the SGN writer whose critical thoughts about the gay health leadership's HIV prevention efforts were kept out of the SGN two weeks ago [Political Epidemic, Eli Sanders, June 12]--available online. Bakan says Burriola's column is still being reworked and may appear later this week.
Check out the original stories that caused all the fuss at www.thestranger.com/ specials/censoredstories.html.