Stomp and Stammer editor apologizes for cruel, anti-gay write-up on Ria Pell

Jeff Clark, editor and publisher of Stomp and Stammer, whipped up a chill icier than a polar vortex on Tuesday when he published in his monthly magazine unkind and homophobic words about Ria Pell and those who mourned her when she died unexpectedly in November.

The immediate and passionate blowback from Pell supporters who set up a Facebook page to “Boycott Stomp and Stammer and all who advertise there” has apparently forced Clark to look within himself and apologize after he was criticized in publications including Atlanta Magazine, Creative Loafing, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Project Q Atlanta.

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Many advertisers with Stomp and Stammer were also pulling their ads or threatening to do so.

What Clark wrote that angered so many people:

Most Overdone Memorial: The ongoing posthumous deification of Ria Pell. She was a nice woman who opened a restaurant that helped revitalize a stretch of Memorial Drive. She was also unhealthy and met with an early death. Had she not been a lesbian, had she been a straight woman or man, we would not have seen but a fraction of the reaction. Instead, she was unrealistically elevated into something she wasn’t: a symbolic figure.

Posted to the Stomp and Stammer Facebook page is his apology:

To Ria’s family, friends and acquaintances,

I would like to offer my sincerest apologies for the things said about Ria’s memorial celebrations in the current issue. They were crude, hurtful, disrespectful and insensitive, and I deeply regret them. I genuinely liked Ria, and whether she liked me or not, she was always friendly to me, and I in no way meant to demean her life or the impact she made. Further, I feel I need to make it clear that I neither hate nor harbor any ill will towards gays, lesbians or anyone in the LGBT community.

It was a shitty thing to say, and I’m very sorry, to everyone.

Jeff Clark

AM 1690, where Clark is host of the Stomp & Stammer show, also posted Clark’s apology on its Facebook page.

Pell died unexpectedly in November and her death literally rocked the entire city. Approximately 1,000 people attended her funeral and there were fundraisers for her family and parties to celebrate her life.

The GA Voice has admired her work in the community not only as a chef, but as an activist for numerous progressive causes and her desire and hard work to build community for all people. And for that, we named her Person of the Year in 2013.