The future of gay weekly the Chicago
Free Press is in question after senior employees walked out
on Monday, ChicagoPride.com
Editor in Chief Matt Simonette told the
Chicago Tribune that employees had not resigned but walked out
because they had not been paid. He said many staffers did not
receive a paycheck on December 15.
“The senior staff did not resign; it
was just simply a matter of leaving because of non-payment,”
Simonette said. “People were coming in there and doing their jobs
for free. It didn't sit well with us.”
The Chicago Free Press is one of
two Chicago weeklies that serve the gay, lesbian, bisexual and
transgender community. The other is Windy City Times.
David Costanzo, whose Rainbow Media
acquired the weekly in 2002, admitted the paper has suffered setbacks
over the past year, saying advertising revenues remain down.
“The last two to three payrolls,
we've been having issues from a cash-flow standpoint,” he said.
“Over the last two payrolls, we had to delay some paychecks.”
Costanzo promised the paper will come out on time Thursday.
Joining the walkout were the paper's
art director, senior writer, graphic designer and many of its
writers, Simonette said. The disgruntled employees formed a Facebook
page that has attracted 25 members, mostly current and former
employees of the paper.
Earlier in the year, the mini gay
publishing empire of Window Media cratered under the weight of its
financial obligations, ending press runs for LGBT papers from Florida
to Washington, including the iconic Washington Blade.