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Renewed LA Weekly Boycott Effort Could Endanger Upcoming Food Event

People have been calling and putting pressure on restaurants

Eataly Los Angeles
Product from Eataly, one of the restaurants still attached to the Essentials event
Wonho Frank Lee
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

It looks as though embattled LA Weekly may not be out of the boycott woods yet, as a renewed push by former journalists for the alt weekly and their followers is aimed at actually taking down the upcoming annual Essentials food event. The group has even formed a website and action plan to try to cripple the costly Downtown restaurant party before it even takes place.

Late last year, a growing online coalition started up against the new Weekly ownership from Orange County after a round of layoffs completely decimated the entire company. That group, comprised in part by former writers of the print weekly, has pushed followers to bombard advertisers and local businesses with calls of concern over their participation with the paper in any way, and have had plenty of success in driving folks away. Back in December LA Weekly was forced to cancel its annual Sips & Sweets event at the last minute (despite having sold plenty of tickets) due to a cascade of restaurant back-outs.

For now the marquee Essentials event — meant to coincide with the paper’s annual list of best restaurants — is still set for March 25. However, a new Boycott LA Weekly website just went live yesterday, and has renewed a call to action to get the Essentials party wiped off the calendar by once again flooding participating restaurants with calls. The idea is to bring enough negative attention to the politics behind the paper that confirmed restaurant names like Eataly, Park’s BBQ, and Jitlada decide not to attend, hamstringing ticket sales and driving up out-of-pocket costs for Weekly ownership.

Eater has confirmed that at least a couple of restaurants are currently reconsidering their position on the Essentials event after receiving a flood of calls, though none seem to have publicly decided to step away just yet. Eater also reached out to new LA Weekly food editor Michele Stueven who sent along the following note:

Nobody’s dropped out and we’re full speed ahead looking forward to a fun event! I just got off the phone with one of the chefs yesterday talking about the menu, and everyone is really excited.

Tickets remain on sale for the March 25 Essentials party in Downtown Los Angeles.