A remarkable essay has been published on the Village Voice website. Under the headline “Tupac Shakur, the Los Angeles Times, and Why I’m Still Unemployed: A Personal History by Chuck Philips,” the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist details for the first time his version of the events leading up to, and following, March 26, 2008.
That’s the day The Smoking Gun exposed as fake court documents referenced in a Calendar front-page story by Philips about a 1994 assault in Queens, NY on rapper Tupac Shakur. He says it was not his idea to web-publish and liberally source the FBI-302 documents, but rather that of his LAT editor and the paper’s lawyer. Philips also accuses the paper of failing to properly support one of their own by refusing to litigate against the target of his piece (and subsequent accuser) James “Jimmy Henchman” Rosemond:
Lawyers and editors rejected my recommendations, arguing it would be foolhardy to fight the case. The Times refused to defend the story in court. Instead, the paper crafted a retraction that sounded as if I had made up the entire story and sneaked it into print behind management’s back, without the knowledge, consent or guidance of senior editors and lawyers directly involved in its publication.