One of the country’s most controversial right-wing newspapers landed in hot water yet again when a reporter’s byline was replaced with an anti-gay slur this week.
The Santa Barbara News-Press listed staff writer Paul Gonzales’ name as “Paul Gayzalez” in an article about last-minute holiday shopping. Printed on page A3, the description next to his name referred to Gonzales as a “News Press Faggoat.”
The homophobic insult was exclusive to the paper’s print edition. The reporter’s byline is listed correctly in the online version of the story.
The News-Press apologized in a note to readers on Wednesday.
“In Monday’s News-Press, one of our employees changed another employee’s byline to reflect an offensive slur,” the mea culpa read. “The News-Press has taken immediate and swift action with this employee; we do not tolerate any form of harassment in the workplace. We apologize to our readers.”
The outlet claims that the employee has since been terminated, while Gonzales told the L.A. Times the individual responsible “offered [him] a personal apology” which he has since accepted.
But it shouldn’t be a surprise the frequently contentious Santa Barbara paper is the outlet behind the bigoted flap.
The News-Press was one of just a handful of publications to endorse Donald Trump in the 2016 election, even though strongly liberal Santa Barbara County voted 61 percent for Hillary Clinton in the presidential race. An editorial published two weeks after its initial endorsement claimed Democratic leaders are “taking the country from prosperity to dependency.”
Documentary filmmaker Tyler Sam told Politico there was “no question” that its owner, conservative billionaire Wendy McCaw, was “behind the endorsement.”
McCaw, who opposes labor unions and a federal minimum, purchased the paper for $100 million 17 years ago. Since buying the News-Press, she has decimated its staff, taking a thriving pool of 200 journalists and editors down to a 20-man shadow crew. Under McCaw’s tenure, the newspaper has frequently referred to undocumented immigrants as “illegals.”
She also surrounds herself with notable anti-gay figures.
McCaw’s “Freedom Lecture Series”boasted names like Ben Shapiro, Newt Gingrich, and Charles Krauthammer in its 2015 run. Shapiro, an editor-at-large for Breitbart, believes Matthew Shepard’s death wasn’t a hate crime. He has also dismissed the high rates of violence LGBTQ experience, saying queer and trans people are subjected to a “vastly minute amount” of discrimination in the United States.
Gingrich, meanwhile, once referred to the LGBTQ movement as “gay, secular fascism,” comparing it to Nazi Germany. Krauthammer, a widely circulated conservative columnist, called the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage ruling “a huge loss for democracy.”
McCaw has yet to speak out about the paper’s latest controversy.