“Mr. Dowis advised that he believes that the damaged window is a result of controversy that has been stirring up the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgender community in reference to an article that was publicated (sic) by Phoenix Magazine (sic) on Oct. 4, 2012,” according to an Atlanta Police Department report filed today.
“The article expressed distaste for the city of Atlanta’s night life as it relates to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Mr. Dowis states that a huge backlash occurred in the community and a lot of people began to express their dislike for [Fenuxe] Magazine for posting the article. Mr. Dowis advised that people began to send threatening messages via phone and Facebook to retailers affiliated with [Fenuxe] Magazine,” the report states.
Dowis told the APD that his store advertises in Fenuxe and did so in its Pride issue that included the controversial article. He added that the threats are coming from people who believe advertisers are advocating the Fenuxe article.
“Mr. Dowis advised that the inopportune time to release the article was just before the ‘Pride Festival’ when out of towers were visiting and could possibly develop bad opinions about Atlanta’s Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgender nightlife which is what angered the community,” the report states.
Dowis told police he received a specific threat that someone would actually throw the Fenuxe magazine stand through the store’s window so he removed the stand “and hid it to attempt to avoid any further confrontation,” according to the report.
Dowis told police that gay bar Burkhart’s and gay retailer Brushstrokes have also been threatened for advertising in Fenuxe.
Video footage from the store shows someone outside the store at about 4 a.m., Dowis told police.
LGBT liaison Officer Brian Sharp was on the scene when the report was taken and the second LGBT liaison, Officer Kristin Knight, was made aware of the incident by phone, according to the report.
UPDATE: Brushstrokes has not received any threats relating to the Fenuxe story and they are not worried about any future vandalism related to the issue, according to the store’s owners Mark Jackson and Tom Schloeder.
DAVID magazine, Fenuxe, GA Voice and Pocket Rocket all have distribution boxes on the sidewalk in front of Brushstrokes but actually closer to Pets are People Too, the owners said.
Brushstrokes informed Tyler Calkins, publisher of Fenuxe, that the store was removing all copies of the Pride issue from Fenuxe’s distribution box out of respect for the Atlanta bar owners and because Mr. Calkins did not want his boxes vandalized and “so he was actually pleased the copies were removed,” they said.
Schloeder and Jackson said they believe in the First Amendment rights to publish such an article but that it was published at an inopportune time, in the Pride issue. They also said they believe the article, if it had to be published, should have been labeled as opinion rather than as news or fact.
Jackson and Schloeder also said they feel the article does not show that gay businesses in Atlanta can work together successfully and harmoniously “as Brushstrokes endeavors to do daily.”
“And finally, even as opinion, the article is disrespectful to the bar owners and grossly ill-timed,” they said.
Steve Tallas, general manager of Burkhart’s, said the bar has not been threatened for advertising in Fenuxe and has not removed the Fenuxe rack.
“We’ve taken the high road,” Tallas said. “The writer of the [Fenuxe controversial article] in an earlier story in the magazine named us as one of the top spots to visit during Pride. We thought the whole thing was kind of odd.”
Tallas said Burkhart’s continues to distribute Fenuxe and advertise in the magazine.
“We’ve taken no action against Fenuxe. We want to remain neutral,” he said.
GA Voice has contacted Tyler Calkins, publisher of Fenuxe, for comment and will publish it when a response is received.
Top photo: Boy Next Door pictured here in 2011. (via Facebook)