An online campaign to boycott the recently purchased LA Weekly is gaining steam, with a new push today aimed at taking down one of the publication’s marquee food events. The annual Sips & Sweets party is slated to take place on Saturday, December 14, but several former employees and readers have other plans — and they’re directly targeting the chefs and restaurants involved.
*Update: A list of those restaurants that are backing away from the event is below.
Longtime music writer Jeff Weiss, himself a former Weekly employee, has been tweeting out support for the boycott movement for days now, and is in many ways leading the charge on the growing campaign. Today he published a list of those restaurants involved in the Sips & Sweets event along with as much contact info as he could find, asking readers to reach out and ask those businesses directly if they are aware of the changes to the publication, and if they still plan to support its event.
Here's a list of the restaurants, bars & chefs that we need to call and & email today. Here's a loose script to follow. I urge you to be polite. These restaurants & sponsors are blameless. They don't know yet that LA Weekly has been hijacked by crooks & liars. pic.twitter.com/S5hqSAr56U— Otto Von Biz Markie (@Passionweiss) December 5, 2017
The idea, of course, would be to lean on restaurants enough to get them to reconsider their attendance, or back out altogether. That would mean the event either wouldn’t happen or would become much smaller in scope, both of which would be bad for the new collection of owners behind LA Weekly. It’s also worth noting that Weiss was never involved in the food section at LA Weekly, and as a former employee of the publication has a personal stake in these ownership issues at large. Others though, like former LA Weekly food editor Sarah Bennett, have offered their support of Weiss’s campaign on Twitter.
As for the overall reason for the boycott, Weiss and others (including actor Mark Ruffalo) feel that the recent gutting of the popular alt-weekly publication’s staff is bad news for the media landscape in Los Angeles. In addition, the new owners (who only recently announced themselves publicly after weeks of speculation) are being portrayed as Orange County-based carpetbaggers who have been struggling to keep up with the criticisms they’ve received online.
An earlier tweet by the company, since deleted, started asking for new unpaid contributors to the paper while disparaging the perceived lack of Los Angeles culture. Some of the ownership group’s previous right-leaning campaign contributions and public statements have further raised eyebrows.
Eater reached out to several of the restaurants slated for the Sips & Sweets event to ask about their participation.
The Lucques Group confirmed that they will still be attending. The Lucques Group is reportedly now out as well, while others have yet to respond. Eater also reached out to the LA Weekly directly, but so far has not heard back.
Update: Several restaurants have reached out confirm that they will be pulling out of the event. They include:
71 Above/Darwin Manahan
Angel City Brewery
The Lucques Group
Drunken Cake Pops
Birds & Bees
The Raymond 1886
Otium also sends along the following statement regarding their decision to pull out:
Otium will no longer participate in Sips & Sweets. There are a lot of questions about what LA Weekly will look like moving forward and until we know more we’re going to focus on other events.