No Space For Hate…


No Space For Hate…

Not long after my last Publisher’s Note from our Jan.25th issue, a well intentioned local took to Denman social media in hopes of rallying support for this 32 year old community paper. News of The Islands Grapevine’s (TIG’s) possible demise led them to make a post imploring people to brainstorm ideas that might help steady the fortunes of a small business and the jobs it supports.

Suggestions ran the gamut from putting out a jar at the Recycling Centre all the way over to organizing a bake sale. In truth, of the over 300 comments registered, those were the ONLY suggestions. Such is the spirit of our local social media that swaddles itself in a colourful flag emblazoned with a rather ironic declaration of holding, “No Space for Hate.” That well intentioned local managed to escape with their life, just barely.

Aside from mine own, the remaining commentary coming from fewer than 2 dozen participants within the thread focussed on ripping the paper, its editorial policy or further insisting TIG was printing transphobia. 

I was even publicly offered some business advice given my seeming inability to plan for the inevitable ebbs and flows of the season. 

Two things I will say to this: 

Firstly, I refuse to start a GoFundMe to prop up this paper’s prospects, unlike the individual offering said advice has resorted to on occasion. 

Either the business makes sense financially or it doesn’t. It’s beneath me to ask for handouts. 

And secondly, for 5 years of ‘ebb and flow’ it HAS made marginal sense, but a year long advertising boycott headed up by several taxpayer funded island non-profits led me to conclude otherwise in sharing with TIG readers where matters currently stand. 

When I pressed for evidence of transphobia I was met with; “There are directly transphobic statements in this article, but I’m not going to quote them here because I don’t want to give them airspace.” Judge, Jury and Executioner. Mmkay.

The justification employed for this ongoing boycott infers that “transphobia” was contained in a piece written by a woman who discussed her sexual assault and trauma by referencing a government website that said there were some cis males (a person who identified as male following being assigned as male at birth) who had been convicted of raping women, who were attempting to be put in a women’s prison by identifying as a trans woman. This, in no way, was intended to suggest that trans women were dangerous in women’s prisons, or anywhere else. As the study from that government website noted, some men are attempting to game the system because rapists are vulnerable in a man’s prison and are only perceived as just above a child abuser in the prison hierarchy.

I will take this moment to categorically state The Islands Grapevine opposes transphobia and all bigotry and would never publish bigoted material. To suggest otherwise is simply insulting to my intelligence. I understand saying this much will have no effect on an unmoderated social media board where ideology clouds reading comprehension but I feel it needs to be said for the sake of our readers nonetheless.

As we’ve covered previously, our issue is related to a publicly contracted employee weaponizing tax funded advertising dollars in attempts to extort an editorial policy change by withholding ad buys based on their own personal politics. Citing this claim of “transphobia” as their reasoning. Upon receiving this threat in late July we looked into matters further to learn they had already been withholding advertising funds for a full two months prior to the “offending” article in question. It was further confirmed in discovering that they had continued to buy ads in Hornby publications during this timeframe. The truth of the matter is TIG has seen a boycott of advertising ever since it published dissenting views on Covid, so we’re kinda used to it by now. Yet not once in the intervening years has our 1250 strong circulation had to listen to me complain about it. NOT ONCE. I understood it came with the territory. To be incessantly reminded on our local bulletin board how, “advertisers are free to choose where they spend their ad dollars” (as though this had never occurred to me) is another weak attempt to deflect from the issue at hand. Written threats to extort a private business with taxpayer monies is a bully move. Straight up. One that TIG has called out and will not back down from. Its editorial policy stands.

We’ve tried to settle all of this privately a few times, and in each instance we were rebuffed. The most recent effort was to accept a proposed mediation process from the CVRD. The other parties rejected it and to this day the smears of TIG continue on the Denman Island Bulletin Board.

On the other hand, we’ve received a tremendous amount of private support from people who are afraid to speak up publicly for fear that these same bullies will come after them. 

We’ve also received support from people who have sent us letters to publish and we thank them for doing so.

Of their own volition, a petition crafted and circulated by Hornby Islanders in support of TIG’s editorial policies has garnered 165 signatures and counting. This petition has been forwarded on to the relevant parties with the CVRD and is included as an insert in this week’s issue for our Denman circulation with the intent of adding to that number. Thank you to our Hornby Island readers! I’m moved that you would take such initiative.

Alternatively, you can send us letters of support and also write to Denman Works and the CVRD at the following email addresses to voice your concerns:

CVRD General Manager of Community Services, Doug Demarzo

CVRD Area A Director Daniel Arbour 

DenmanWorks Chair Anthony Gregson

In the meantime please enjoy Issue #1621!

Author: TIG