Community Reacts to Slur Printed in News-Press
The local community reacted to a slur printed in the Santa Barbara News-Press last week.
On Christmas morning, edhat readers reported seeing an offensive word as a byline underneath a local writer's name. On page A3 with a story about last-minute holiday shopping, the last name of staff writer Paul Gonzalez was changed to "Gayzalez." The following byline read "News-Press Faggoat."
Community members commented on social media to express their frustration and anger over the offensive act. An edhat reader captured a photo of what appears to be a sign (pictured to the right) taped to the front doors of the News-Press building at 715 Anacapa Street. The sign seems to read "SB News Suppress We Want Answers."
The Pacific Pride Foundation, Santa Barbara County's LGBTQ+ center, responded with a letter to the newspaper's editorial board and invited the community to add their signature. They received 503 signatures to add to their letter.
The letter read ".. this level of outright homophobia must be addressed on a broader scale. The News-Press leadership might not condone this language, but the reality is that at least one person in the newsroom thought this was acceptable. It is not."
"No matter a person's actual or perceived sexuality or gender identity, using such slurs to insult or harass constitutes bullying. All one bully needs is to see this type of tacit approval from another bully to continue - and sometimes increase - the behavior," wrote the Pacific Pride Foundation.
Photo: Pacific Pride Foundation
News editor Donald Katich said an unnamed employee made the change and Gonzales is the victim of a hateful act. "It was a very poor decision made by an employee who is no longer in a position to make that same mistake," Katich said to SF Gate.
Regarding the employee, Katich said they are represented by the Teamsters and there is a process they are obligated to follow when it comes to discipline or termination. However, the employee is reportedly no longer in the building.
December 25, 2017: Slur Printed in News-Press Byline