The publisher of Fenuxe magazine tried to walk back a takedown of Atlanta gay bars in its Pride edition by pulling the piece from some print issues but stopping short of apologizing for the gay glossy calling the bars a “disgusting” heap of shit. Tyler Calkins, the magazine’s publisher and founder, responded with a five-paragraph “Letter to our readers” on Tuesday, responding to a brewing controversy over a four-page spread in its Oct. 4 issue that complains about small drinks, “dirty and disgusting” venues and bar owners who “punish their patrons and squeeze every cent they can from them.” Calkins says that although he and the magazine do “not censor opinion pieces or discriminate based on opinion popularity,” the reaction to “Why can’t we have nice things???” prompted him to scrub it from the remaining press run of the magazine’s 180-page Pride issue. The article, which also challenges bar patrons to demand better from “the least impressive hotspots in the entire city,” can’t be found on the Fenuxe website either, though it can be read in full below. Calkins' statement is published on the Fenuxe website, though the comment section is closed. Commenting is open on other posts on the site. Bar owners criticized the nightlife piece as an insult leveled just days before Pride. Some venues tossed out the issue and called on Calkins to publicly apologize. He didn’t. The full statement:
A letter from Tyler Calkins, Publisher of FENUXE Magazine. I love our community with all my heart. Those who know me know my passion and zeal for our readers, this city, and every segment of our diverse and vibrant community. We are all family and we’re all in the same fight – fighting for equality and freedom. I would like to thank everyone who has contacted Fenuxe about our recent opinion piece “Why Can’t We Have Nice Things?” Whether it was a message of support or criticism, I take your feedback seriously. Fenuxe does not censor opinion pieces or discriminate based on opinion popularity. However, I have decided to pull the piece from our current issue as it has become a distraction from what the Pride issue is all about. The decision to pull the piece was made before 91% of the magazines were printed. (The remaining 24,000 copies will hit stands tomorrow.) Pride is a time for us to celebrate and unite as a community, yet the timing of the piece has threatened that unity for some. This was never the intention. Whether you agree or disagree, our community must remain open to the ebb and flow of varying opinions. The free and unrestricted exchange of ideas will only make us stronger as a community and Fenuxe is proud to foster productive dialog. Do you have an opinion? We will publish it in a new section of the magazine called “Perspectives.” To join the conversation, simply write me at [email protected] I look forward to seeing you all at Pride!