Newsrooms around Washington have been hit with the unexpected over the years. Suicides. Deaths. Layoffs. Snakes. Fist fights. Add grotesque vandalism to the list. Over the past few weeks Metro Weekly, one of Washington’s prominent gay publications, has been coping the unthinkable: Their news boxes are being filled with rotting food such as banana peels and chewed food, garbage and the worst of it — human and animal feces. Some boxes were completely emptied, with the magazines dumped into the trash.
The publication has reported the incidents to the Metropolitan Police Department. There are no formal suspects at this time, but employees of the magazine do know of a middle-aged white man hanging around the Cosi in Dupont Circle who has been spotted and filmed throwing copies of Metro Weekly into the trashcan. Co-publisher Sean Bugg, who calls what happened a “particularly vile scandal”, believes it was a hate crime, citing the fact that no other boxes in the vicinity were touched.
When Bugg wrote to inform us about the incidents, he began, “Hope I’m not spoiling your lunch.”
Asked for the latest on the matter, Bugg told FishbowlDC, “Right now, our main plan is to continue to ask our readers and supporters to let us or the police know if they see anything suspicious going on with one of our boxes (or any other publication’s boxes). We will continue our efforts monitoring our boxes in different locations and work closely with MPD and the Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit until we can put an end to this assault on our readers. Its extremely heartening how much support we’ve received from the community in recent days, and how seriously my colleagues at other media outlets have taken this attack on Metro Weekly and our readers. I’m optimistic about being able so solve this problem as quickly as we can.”
Locations of boxes being targeted: From Metro Weekly — “Primarily those located around Dupont Circle and Connecticut Avenue NW, the 17th Street NW corridor, and the area on P Street between 15th and 14th Streets NW.”
Metro Weekly first reported
news on the vandalism last Friday. Fox 5, ABC7 and WAMU have also run stories. Photographs c/o Metro Weekly.
An important excerpt from the Metro Weekly story…