There's a gay cell phone bandit on the loose at The Living Room! But you'll never hear about it! Because the The Living Room is run by censorial advertisers, who --
Oh, whoops. Cat's out of the bag. Here's what happened, near as I can tell: The partner of the editor of one of our local gay papers had his cell phone stolen at the popular Living Room nightclub on a recent Friday night. The editor, Jeremy Jones, being of a journalistic bent, did some investigating and found his partner was hardly alone -- there was a veritable epidemic of cell phone disappearances at The Living Room. A gang of cell phone stealers, preying upon SoFla's drunkest gay men. A story was clearly in order.
Jeremy Jones did what any good journalist would do: He pulled together some copy for inclusion in the next edition of his paper, The Florida Agenda, and asked the management of The Living Room to comment. But the management didn't want to. Instead, it called the publisher of Jones' publication, Kevin Hopper, and told him to can the story, lest The Living Room pull its advertisements. Hopper did so, Jones quit the paper, and no one ever learned about The Living Room's thievery problem.
...except they did, because Norm Kent, the editor of The Florida Agenda's competition, South Florida Gay News, was a colleague of Jones' from way back. He heard about the incident, and wrote it up as a news story last week. A few days later, our sister publication, The Miami New Times, picked up on the story, and yesterday Kent wrote an editorial on the subject.
Agenda publisher Kevin Hopper declined to be interviewed for this story, and Jeremy Jones didn't answer my email; the only person I could get on the line was Norm Kent, who obviously has a vested interest in making the Agenda look small. Even so, the facts as I presently understand them don't make the Agenda look unprincipled so much as they make The Living Room look paranoid. We get it, Agenda -- it's tough out there, and you need every penny you can pinch. The Living Room's motives are less scrutable. Why even bother to block a story in a tiny rag like The Agenda? Did management really imagine Jones' reportage would shrink their clientele?
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It wouldn't have. Even the drunkest gay men know how to transfer their phones to their front pockets, thereby rendering them nearly theft-proof. All that the freaking out, the kow-towing to advertisers, and the censorship has accomplished is getting The Living Room's thievery problem covered in not one, but three publications. Let that be a lesson.
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