Speaking truth to power--and that ain't all
July 14, 2017 5:03 PM   Subscribe

Gretchen Rachel Hammond was suspended as a reporter for the Windy City Times after the journalist broke a story about women carrying rainbow flags emblazoned with the Star of David being asked by Chicago Dyke March organizers to leave a rally following the march (previously). This isn’t the first time this year Hammond has been the subject, rather than the author, of a Chicago news story. In January, she sued the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. Hammond, a former fund-raiser for the victim advocacy group, charged that SNAP exploited victims of sexual abuse by clergy in return for financial kickbacks from attorneys. In the months following the filing of the suit, both the founder/president and executive director of the Chicago-based organization resigned.

Hammond’s involvement with the Windy City Times has moved beyond the pages of the publication several times in her career. She covered a case in which a transgender woman was held for almost for years in the maximum security male division of the Cook County Jail. Supporters of Eisha Love credited Hammond’s reporting in helping to secure a plea deal that allowed her to be released for “time served” after pleading guilty to a single count of battery.

The journalist was inspired by another reporter’s story to donate her kidney to LV Jodan, a reader of the Windy City Times and one of the first Chicago women to wed her partner after marriage equality became legal.
posted by layceepee (68 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
 
What is the current status of her lawsuit against SNAP?
posted by zarq at 5:07 PM on July 14


“The reasoning is an internal matter and I have been instructed not to comment about it even to close friends. Given my present situation, I must comply with this instruction.”

Regardless of anything else, that is some bullshit.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 5:10 PM on July 14 [6 favorites]


The article does not include the official statement on the reassignment which they've been pretty vocal about locally and otherwise (to no less than the Anne Frank Center) this week.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 5:39 PM on July 14


(The Chicago Dyke March continues to be incredibly damaging in their continued response and overall sucks though, which is a shame based on the type of event its namesake used to be. And Hammond has done incredible work. But the fallout from this seems to be much, much more complicated and personal personnel-related than the timing signifies and I wish it wouldn't get wrapped up in the much more important issue of the rampant anti-antisemitism in one Chicago's loudest queer left groups.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 5:48 PM on July 14 [5 favorites]


This is a completely frustrating situation, because it looks terrible, but we also don't know the whole story. And we genuinely don't know the whole story, although I'm certainly inclined to take Hammond's side.

The Dyke March, on the other hand, can go to hell. What the fuck is wrong with them?
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:52 PM on July 14 [13 favorites]


Just a heads-up that the Algemeiner is a fairly-to-strongly right-wing paper who have spoken highly of anti-LGBTQ bigots like Michelle Bachmann and Rick Santorum, so the comments veer into that kind of mockery and outright bigotry pretty quickly.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:53 PM on July 14 [6 favorites]


With the rise of the no-kidding Nazis of the alt-right and the persistent and systematic conflation of Zionism with Judaism on the far left, it must be a fun time to be Jewish in this country.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:01 PM on July 14 [36 favorites]


I wish they wouldn't use "triggering" in that careless, right wing bogeyman way. I'm willing to bet good money not a single person complaining about the Star of David being "triggering" to them has any sort of PTSD that involves serious trauma associated with seeing the Star of David. That sort of lazy, socially opportunistic appropriation of medical and scientific terms of art causes harm to people trying to live with real trauma, given the bigoted attitudes toward mental illness in our society more generally. It never ceases to disappoint me how eager in practice people across the political spectrum are to make light of mental illness and how rarely people speak up against casually offensive ableism versus other forms of social violence and hate speech.

Weakness seems to be the common underlying theme (which is of course a residue of pervasive sexist attitudes that privilege traits culturally associated with masculinity). Weakness and acknowledgment of the real limits on human freedom beyond the scope of "personal responsibility" can't be tolerated in a society like ours, regardless of whatever else you might believe or value. Sad.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:23 PM on July 14 [35 favorites]


With the rise of the no-kidding Nazis of the alt-right and the persistent and systematic conflation of Zionism with Judaism on the far left, it must be a fun time to be Jewish in this country.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. This country has always had deep, disturbing undercurrents of antisemitism on both sides of the aisle. On the right, Father Coughlin, The White Aryan Resistance, etc. On the left, the New Black Panther Party, the Nation of Islam, etc. Casual antisemitism is pretty much everywhere, and has been for generations.

We've never been free of it.

So now, the latest generation of Jews is experiencing a lesson many of us have dealt with already. We learn that living as publicly Jewish people in America means we will at times run up against ingrained or institutionalized prejudices. And deliberate ignorance. Often, from those who should know better.
posted by zarq at 7:17 PM on July 14 [33 favorites]


(to no less than the Anne Frank Center)

I'm not trying to derail, but some clarification on the Anne Frank Center is warranted.
posted by beisny at 7:20 PM on July 14 [7 favorites]




This is a completely frustrating situation, because it looks terrible, but we also don't know the whole story. And we genuinely don't know the whole story, although I'm certainly inclined to take Hammond's side.

We genuinely don't know the whole story, because the entire newspaper staff couldn't bring themselves to create a half-assed press release about an act that was almost certain to get national attention.

Unless there are pending criminal charges about something completely unrelated, I'm not inclined to be charitable here.
posted by steady-state strawberry at 8:53 PM on July 14 [13 favorites]


Yeah, none of this makes sense, as far as moving her from journalist to as sales, but being unfamiliar with all of the players until I read this FPP, I find myself outraged on behalf of ms Hammond, revolted by the Dukes March leader, and wondering wtf the windy city times is doing.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 9:25 PM on July 14 [1 favorite]


what a fuckin champion this woman is
posted by wibari at 10:11 PM on July 14 [3 favorites]


My totally uninformed first reaction to this was to think that it was a way to relieve her of duty without giving her the option to sue for wrongful dismissal.
posted by Dysk at 2:02 AM on July 15 [6 favorites]


IIRC, at least two of the three women expelled from the CDM march had their Facebook accounts temporarily closed as a result of complaints. It looks to me as though there's some serious cyberbullying going on here.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:38 AM on July 15 [4 favorites]


Yeah, it's weird. When I was a kid, I kinda assumed that antisemitism was a thing of the past, at least in this country. I mean, there was World War II, and we all agree that what Hitler and the Nazis did to the jews was terrible, right? It's like the textbook example of why discrimination is bad. Surely, I felt, nobody thinks like that anymore—it's so obviously evil that how could anybody still be that way? I mean, nobody wants to be like Hitler, right?

Yet here we are.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 3:48 AM on July 15 [19 favorites]


We are all people, and the moment an ideology starts telling you anything different you should be giving it the hairy fuckin eyeball imo
posted by Sebmojo at 6:01 AM on July 15 [6 favorites]


When I was a kid, I kinda assumed that antisemitism was a thing of the past, at least in this country. I mean, there was World War II, and we all agree that what Hitler and the Nazis did to the jews was terrible, right?

Until quite recently (maybe still) that was the dominant narrative on the left: antisemitism actually was no longer a thing, because nobody wanted to be a Nazi. In fact people that suggested it might still be a thing were treated like provocateurs, or accused of trying to drown out the experiences of real victims.

In my experience, people on the right might be more or less antisemitic, but they recognised that antisemitism existed and (at least on a personal level) would help you work around antisemitic people or policies. People on the left refused to even recognise it, and consequently tolerated it. For example, the artist Mear One painted a mural near Brick Lane in London's East End. Lots of people said "Wow, a bunch of hook-nosed financiers playing Monopoly under the gaze of an eye-in-the-pyramid while literally riding on the backs of oppressed workers; isn't that a bit of an antisemitic dog whistle?" But the mural was liberally (heh) defended until the artist came out and basically said "Oh, it's a picture of Jewish bankers exploiting people."

I can't count the number of times left-wing identities have been defended as "anti-Zionist" until they say something publicly that is unequivocally antisemitic. People generally drop their support for them after that, but they never seem to apologise for their earlier denials and their attacks on Jews who could hear the racist dog whistles. We none of us can recognise our own prejudices; we need to stop being so defensive about them.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:23 AM on July 15 [17 favorites]


Here's an interview from one of the Dyke March organizers that makes the rights and wrongs sound at least somewhat less clear. The summary is that while the organizer, Martinez, can't say that no one said anything about the flag, the flag had been carried at the march before without problems, and she had assured the women who brought the flag that it was fine this year as well.

What set off the expulsion, according to Martinez, is the women with the flag were verbally hassling a Palestinian contingent about Zionism, and they wouldn't stop when asked by Martinez and other Jewish women at the march.

This might all be a pack of lies -- I have no idea how to tell who's telling the truth -- but if there's anything to it, it complicates the rights and wrongs of the incident, and makes Hammond's article look as if it wasn't well reported.
posted by LizardBreath at 6:47 AM on July 15 [1 favorite]


I don't trust that self-serving interview at all. The Dyke March itself put out a statement immediately after the event that substantially contradicts the interview, insisting it was about the flag, and Hammond names her interview subjects -- Dyke march organizers -- in her piece, while this interview behaves as though nobody in a 10-person collective has any clue who might have said anything about the flag. It's the first time the ejected women are accused of any misbehavior, which had not come up previously, even in the Dyke March's own statements.

And my willingness to be generous went right out the window when the Dyke March's own Twitter account used an antisemitic slur, got belligerent when called on it, and the pulled it and replaced it with a sarcastic "oops, we just meant we love it when white Zionists cry" comment.
posted by maxsparber at 7:06 AM on July 15 [29 favorites]


1) This has already been discussed in the previous thread.

2) The CDM's story hasn't been consistent, and nobody has been able to verify their claims. I kind of figure that, if these women were being so disruptive, there would be more evidence than hearsay from people who have doubled- and tripled-down on anti-Semitic rhetoric.

3) So far, the only journalist that reported from a first-hand witness who was neither a CDM organizer nor one of the women who were expelled was...Hammond herself. That witness didn't mention anything about harassment of Palestinian marchers, verbal or otherwise, and referred to the women's expulsion as "horrific."

4) The CDM tweeted out an explicitly anti-Semitic slur popularized by former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke and has not only responded with a non-apology apology, but now claims--and I'm using their words here--that their critics are the KKK.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:08 AM on July 15 [14 favorites]


Please take a step back and consider whether you would extend a similar benefit of the doubt to people accused of prejudice against a different group. This shoulder-shrugging "well maybe they are liars who were all really disruptive and the reporter is a liar too" is just enabling racism, particularly considering that the reporter's employer stands by the story and it looks as though she's being pressured to keep quiet.

Anyway, if you read the (previously) you can find a link to the Chicago Dyke March Collective's own original statement, as well as statements from the victims. They aren't at all consistent with Martinez' claim, which is so late that it must be considered a response to the cycles of controversy rather than the event itself.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:08 AM on July 15 [11 favorites]


Yeah, as discussed in the previous thread, taking seriously the "revelations" from the interview four days after the event that "the Jewish contingent" was harassing Palestinians (and which also posits a Zionist conspiracy "orchestrated to smear the Dyke March Collective") not only makes "Hammond's article look as if it wasn't well reported" but also happens to step all over the March's own official statement which didn't mention any such harassment either.
posted by XMLicious at 7:18 AM on July 15


Sorry -- I'd missed the earlier thread, and a lot of the links in it. The Martinez interview had looked to me like a plausible account of what might have happened, but I hadn't read most of the other information.
posted by LizardBreath at 7:39 AM on July 15


When this initially happened, I was expecting it to play out differently. I've been in activist groups where people have been asked to leave, and it has always prompted a lot of "this sucks, could we have prevented it, what role did we play, how can we do better next time" reflection, even when what was going on was creepy dude behavior where the guy simply had to go, never mind in situations like this.

I was expecting either that the Dyke March organizers would say "this sucks, we made our decision for these reasons, it seemed like the best thing at the time but it still wasn't great, here is how we plan to work with Jewish groups going forward so that we can develop practices of both being in solidarity with Palestinians and providing a welcoming space for Jewish marchers" or else I expected some obviously bad interpersonal history to emerge - like, one of the women who was expelled would prove to have threatened and harassed other activists online, etc, and therefore the "you have to leave" was really more "we have dealt with your individual shit before and we're not dealing with it again". Both of those things would have been in line with what I've noticed when people are acting in good faith, and I was expecting this to be in line with what I've observed over many years of activism and/or being around activists.

But nothing like that emerged, and in fact we seem to have gone over to the "I drink your tears lol" side of things, so I think that pretty conclusively proves where the Dyke March organizers stand. They've had plenty of time on this one, and all we're seeing is a repulsive doubling-down.

I mean, it's pretty gross, and I hope that people boycott the march next year.
posted by Frowner at 7:40 AM on July 15 [29 favorites]


(I mean, to clarify, asking the women to leave was wrong - but I expected it to be a mistake with elements of miscommunication and ignorance made in the heat of the moment, not a policy decision that people would double down on.)
posted by Frowner at 7:41 AM on July 15 [3 favorites]


I mentioned this in the other thread too, but Martinez's several days after the fact "revelations" come off as so much bullshit:

AM: They were taking 'No walls from Mexico to Palestine' and they started with "No walls anywhere." They were disrupting the chants

So we are expected to believe that in a march that had 1500 attendees, all chanting in unison, it was noticeable that a mere 3 out of those 1500 were slightly changing a word or two of a chant? And, whoops, nobody on the CDM side, who had already made several official statements up to that point, had thought to mention this transgression until several days after the event when the bad publicity had started to escalate?

Sorry, I have a hard time believing this is evidence of bad reporting on Hammond's part.
posted by The Gooch at 7:44 AM on July 15 [2 favorites]


The Eisha Love story is horrifying, too.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:49 AM on July 15


Sorry -- I'd missed the earlier thread, and a lot of the links in it. The Martinez interview had looked to me like a plausible account of what might have happened, but I hadn't read most of the other information.

I appreciate the apology, but I think Joe in Australia makes a great point upthread. I can't help but wonder if the effected group here had been...literally any other minority group other than Jews, if people would be so quick with the "Well, you know, the truth is a nebulous thing" type responses.
posted by The Gooch at 7:49 AM on July 15 [1 favorite]


In re chants: People "disrupt" chants pretty regularly at large marches. I've done it, it's been done to me - it's a way of showing you disagree, or just a way of chanting something you believe rather than something you don't. Sometimes it's annoying and politically fucked up. But it's not an emergency.

Also, there are always like five different chants going at any large march, because it's a large march. The other thing is that large marches are loud. Unless I heard someone chanting something that I was 100% sure was offensive and intended to be offensive, I'd be really hesitant to act, because half the time you can't hear anyway.
posted by Frowner at 7:51 AM on July 15 [3 favorites]


I can't help but wonder if the effected group here had been...literally any other minority group other than Jews, if people would be so quick with the "Well, you know, the truth is a nebulous thing" type responses.

Especially since said nebulosity comes in the form an accused party changing their own story. Oh, the cop finally changed his story sound like the victim might have had a gun, let's acquit.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:53 AM on July 15 [2 favorites]


Just from past experience: yeah, every single minority group would likewise be interrogated about the veracity of their experience. MetaFilter is better in general, but is a part of the world, and this is what is done in the world. We can sometimes seem especially dismissive of Jewish concerns, but not uniquely or exclusively.
posted by maxsparber at 9:11 AM on July 15 [9 favorites]


Here's an interview from one of the Dyke March organizers that makes the rights and wrongs sound at least somewhat less clear. . . it complicates the rights and wrongs of the incident, and makes Hammond's article look as if it wasn't well reported.

In case you missed it, Hammond conducted that interview. And the organizer acknowledges that Hammond contacted March organizers for a comment before the original piece was published, but they felt unable to respond before the story went to press WGN asked us to appear but they only gave us a four-hour window. That's not enough time for us to get a message together when we are facing a constant onslaught.
posted by layceepee at 10:53 AM on July 15


WGN asked us to appear but they only gave us a four-hour window.

Four hours is a reasonable amount of time to be given for a breaking news story.
posted by zarq at 1:36 PM on July 15 [8 favorites]


But not enough time to make up accusations out of whole cloth. That took four whole days!
posted by corb at 1:50 PM on July 15 [9 favorites]


My totally uninformed first reaction to this was to think that it was a way to relieve her of duty without giving her the option to sue for wrongful dismissal.

It doesn't work like that; "constructive dismissal" is a thing. However, given that every state save one in the USA has at-will employment they could fire her for basically any reason or no reason at all and it wouldn't be a wrongful dismissal. The only reasons you can't fire someone are because of their race, their sex (I don't know about gender, it may be legal federally to fire someone for being trans... consult your attorney), their religion, or if they are old. Note: you can fire them for being young.
posted by Justinian at 3:18 PM on July 15


(There are a few additional edge cases like whistleblower retaliation etc but you get the idea).
posted by Justinian at 3:18 PM on July 15


We "only" had four hours, so we said it was the Star of David, but when there was a backlash, we...changed the story? So that that first answer just plain wasn't true? What? That literally makes no sense.
posted by Sticherbeast at 3:47 PM on July 15 [1 favorite]


If, after more than four hours, the best you can come up with is "this was all a Zionist conspiracy," odds are you aren't going to come up with a better excuse, because it keeps refracting back to antisemitism
posted by maxsparber at 4:11 PM on July 15 [8 favorites]


Someone should really put together a timeline of the claims. IIRC, the reasons given by CDM Collective for their actions didn't just change, they changed to accommodate subsequent information given by third parties.

Initial claim: we expelled them because Palestinians told us the flags made them feel unsafe.
(the expellees describe their experiences, including being aggressively interrogated about their beliefs)
Second claim: We expelled them because they lectured people about Zionism.
(Somebody puts up a video saying they heard the expellees during the march chanting "no walls anywhere" in response to "no walls from Palestine to Mecico)
Third claim: the expellees were disrupting the chants.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:19 PM on July 15 [1 favorite]


Not a mod, but maybe we should keep the CDM talk in the earlier thread and keep this one about Hammond? (Also, I think we could create a pretty good timeline based on the links posted in the previously, and I think doing so is a good idea.)
posted by Ruki at 5:51 PM on July 15 [3 favorites]


"this shoulder-shrugging "well maybe they are liars who were all really disruptive and the reporter is a liar too" is just enabling racism, particularly considering that the reporter's employer stands by the story and it looks as though she's being pressured to keep quiet. "

There are pictures of Jewish Voice for Peace marchers with Stars of David, though.

Jewish Voice for Peace Chicago statement here.

While I think that JVP's claims about Palestinians feeling "justifiably unsafe" around an Israeli flag redone in rainbow motif are pretty dubious, it seems like a simpler answer that both the Jewish people that got kicked out and the Jewish people that marched are very passionate about a contentious issue and both have self-serving narratives that call the other group liars. Without being there or having any primary documentation of the interactions, deciding which group lied seems like to comes down more to your pre-existing attitudes about either group than anything we can know from the outside.
posted by klangklangston at 2:25 AM on July 16


Uh, two different groups of representatives of CDM contradicted each other. Someone from CDM is lying, it's just a question of whether it's the person(s) putting out the statement in the immediate aftermath, which largely concurs with the accounts of the expelled women, Hammond, and third party witnesses, or if it's the leadership that put out a statement several days later contradicting every other account to date.

But yeah, it's totally about our preexisting politics.
posted by Dysk at 2:34 AM on July 16 [5 favorites]


There has been primary documentation, from both the three Jewish women who were asked to leave, and from CDM, all of which are clearly linked in the previous thread. For real, I'd love not to have this argument again. (BTW, the CDM tripled down and talked about Zio tears. So if we're going to assume one group is lying, I'm putting my money on the group that used an actual KKK dogwhistle.)
posted by Ruki at 2:35 AM on July 16 [9 favorites]


Palestinians feeling "justifiably unsafe" around an Israeli flag redone in rainbow motif...

Without the stripes at top and bottom, there's no way to call it an Israeli flag. Not unless every flag with a crescent and star centered on it is considered a Pakistani flag. This needs to stop.

"...it seems like a simpler answer that both the Jewish people that got kicked out and the Jewish people that marched are very passionate about a contentious issue and both have self-serving narratives that call the other group liars.

JVP aren't at issue here, CDM is, and turning this into some sort of 'Jews, you can't trust them' narrative is appalling.
posted by Mchelly at 6:30 AM on July 16 [11 favorites]


Without the stripes at top and bottom, there's no way to call it an Israeli flag. Not unless every flag with a crescent and star centered on it is considered a Pakistani flag

IIRC correctly there actually was a Pakistani flag there. Not a Pakistani Pride flag: a true literal flag of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. There were lots of flags there, and why not. It obviously never occurred to anyone to police anyone displaying their national flag; the very idea would probably be seen as authoritarian and somewhat racist.

People who want to distinguish between antisemitism and anti-Zionism should probably ask themselves whether the CDM was policing Jews because the CDM is anti-Zionist, or whether the CDM is anti-Zionist because it gives them a justification to police Jews.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:09 AM on July 16 [7 favorites]


Not a mod, but maybe we should keep the CDM talk in the earlier thread and keep this one about Hammond?

And I am a mod and I pretty much agree. That thread is still open, has been long and difficult, and doesn't need to be rebooted in here. If you're coming new to the overall situation, go back and read that one because just about literally every thing that has come up in here as a "okay but what if" about what went down, what was reported, what was said/claimed/tweeted, what contradicted what, etc, has been discussed at length there with lots of links.

I'm a little skeptical of this second thread being here just because I think it's likely to prompt rehashes of the previous one because of how people work, but if there's developments or stuff to discuss specifically about Hammond or Windy City Times rather than rehashing basic arguments from the original thread, this is an okay place for it. Might make for a relatively quiet thread if nothing develops there, but that's okay: the other one is still open if someone has something actually new to say in it.
posted by cortex at 7:38 AM on July 16 [7 favorites]


Haaretz is reporting that this was, in fact, a response by the newspaper to the Dyke March applying pressure to have the reporter fired, based on an interview with the reporter's friend.
posted by maxsparber at 7:59 AM on July 16 [1 favorite]


Yeah, with regard to Hammond without further comment or evidence, we don't really have a lot to go on. I'd be pretty baffled if the CDM even had the power to push Hammond out, let alone the desire. I get the sense that the CDM organizers are vain anti-Semites, but more in a smug and lazy sense. Sidelining Hammond seems out of character - that would be actively malicious and calculating.

I mean, you never know, but I could only speculate - just as I could only speculate about other reasons for Hammond's sidelining, scenarios in which the CDM is more or less innocent and/or uninvolved.

Curious timing, to be sure.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:04 AM on July 16


And I am a mod and I pretty much agree. That thread is still open, has been long and difficult, and doesn't need to be rebooted in here. If you're coming new to the overall situation, go back and read that one because just about literally every thing that has come up in here as a "okay but what if" about what went down, what was reported, what was said/claimed/tweeted, what contradicted what, etc, has been discussed at length there with lots of links.

Thank you.
posted by zarq at 9:37 AM on July 16 [2 favorites]


The Windy City Times is in an invidious position: it's effectively a small-town newspaper and it's found itself at odds with (what I presume is) a substantial portion of its market. That being said, if it wants to be a newspaper it needs to he frank about the pressure it's under and any threats it has received. I simply don't believe the editor when she simultaneously claims she was being attacked for publishing the initial article, but there was no pressure to punish Hammond:
[Windy City Times editor]Baim told Haaretz that following an avalanche of attacks in which she was personally accused of harboring “pro-Zionist, anti-people of color” views, “it was my directive not to engage with anybody. I encouraged people to stay off social media.”

Baim added “there was no political pressure by anybody, no outside pressure” to punish Hammond, saying the demotion “was in no way a response to anything that came in from outside.”
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:57 PM on July 16


do you mean uninvidious
posted by bq at 5:32 PM on July 16


"Invidious position" means "a position where any course of action will attract ill-feeling" or "a position that is hateful". I had the first meaning in mind.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:19 PM on July 16


thanks for the correction, for some reason I thought it meant the opposite.
posted by bq at 6:21 PM on July 16


Well, they're both pretty awful.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:39 PM on July 16


[There is a prior thread about Chicago Dyke March that is still open and cortex already warned you that this post is to "discuss specifically about Hammond or Windy City Times rather than rehashing basic arguments from the original thread" and repeated problems staying on topic by posters from all sides of the debate is making me think we erred in allowing this thread. Please try harder.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:41 PM on July 16


Ah. Apologies. I quite literally lost track of which thread I was in.
posted by zarq at 8:13 PM on July 16


Gretchen Hammond responding to Dyke March on Twitter:

You attacked, humiliated and robbed me of a job. No tears. I forgive you. Just hope you learn how destructive and pointless hatred is.
posted by maxsparber at 2:20 PM on July 17 [2 favorites]


Hammond speaks to JTA:

Hammond, who is Jewish, told JTA that in the wake of her article, she received dozens of threatening anonymous phone calls. She said one caller called her a “kike,” while others told her she should lose her job or said she “betrayed” the LGBT community.

“One of them said, ‘I’m going to get your bitch ass fired,'” Hammond told JTA of calls and text messages she received. “It was vicious. It wasn’t even a request for dialogue. It was, ‘You f**ked with us. We’re going to f**k with you.’ They pretty much blamed me for the whole thing blowing up at them.”

posted by maxsparber at 2:24 PM on July 17 [6 favorites]


Ah, there it is.

Such lovely people out there.
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:32 PM on July 17


While Hammond was a reporter, many of her stories covered issues and events that affected Chicago's trans community. From bias crimes to legislation, she reported stories that probably would not have seen the light of day otherwise. These are people who are rarely protected by anti-discrimination laws. Who in survey after survey report being harassed and discriminated against in their jobs and their day to day lives in high numbers. Trans students at colleges also report harassment and assault in higher percentages than any other minority group. Reporting on those experiences raises everyone's awareness of what they are going through and helps generate support within and outside the group.

It also sends a message that trans folks are not alone in their fight for respect, protection and equal treatment. No one would blame them for thinking otherwise. Some LGB organizations have thrown trans folks under the bus over the years with regard to anti-discrimination legislation.

As is typical at smaller media outlets, Hammond took on multiple roles at the Windy City Times. She was reporter and photographer (credited on many WCT photos,) and was even pitching in at the sales desk.

People who work as reporters at small, local papers don't do it for the money (there usually isn't much) or glory (ditto). They do it because they are passionate about their jobs and informing the public. That's why they'll happily do a job that requires two people at a larger outlet

Even in Chicago, it's hard to find good newspaper journalists. Hard to find people who will pursue stories and help those without a voice be heard.

For all of these reasons, losing her job is a massive loss, both for Hammond, the WCT and for the Chicago community. Trans folks have lost a champion. The WCT will be hard-pressed to replace her.

Pride marches are about many things, including the kind of representation Hammond provided. They're also about emphasing the importance of equality and respect and not having to hide one's identity. Attacking a trans reporter with hate speech, slurs and threats is antithetical to those ideals. So is using antisemitism as a weapon.

And for whatever it's worth, it's against the stated mission of the Dyke March, too: an event that is a "celebration of dyke, queer, and trans solidarity."
posted by zarq at 8:35 PM on July 17 [13 favorites]


The WCT will be hard-pressed to replace her.

The WCT, regrettably, bowed to threats and fired a journalist for reporting the truth. They're currently paying her to keep quiet. This is basically anti-journalism.

It can't be easy, running a small newspaper, but the editor made the wrong decision. Now everyone knows they can be bullied out of reporting a story, and I don't see how they can come back from it.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:32 PM on July 17 [3 favorites]


"Hammond speaks to JTA:"

Well, there it is. You could take issue with some of her reporting on the CDM, but nothing she should have lost a job over, and nobody ever deserves a torrent of anti-Semitism. That's fucking appalling, and it's a shame that the WCT apparently caved on it.
posted by klangklangston at 3:05 PM on July 18 [3 favorites]


Hammond spoke at The Algemeiner's "Summer Benefit 2017:
Short version via Yair Rosenberg of Tablet Magazine. It's good and punchy and well worth watching.
Full version.
Yair Rosenberg's article
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:23 PM on July 18




Nice!

Tablet seems like a great fit for her. They have a dedicated audience and cover issues from a decently wide range of perspectives. Assuming she sticks to the same beat, increasing their coverage of trans Jews and trans rights can only be a good thing.

Plus, she won't have to work in sales. I hope they gave her a big raise from what she was making at the Windy City Times.
posted by zarq at 9:37 AM on August 10


And here's her new piece in the magazine: In Chicago's Slutwalk, Israel and Palestine Take Center Stage
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:14 AM on August 13 [2 favorites]


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