Hudson Out at AFP, Don’t is Interim Editor (UPDATE 1)
(APN) ATLANTA — After being caught lying to Atlanta Progressive News, Zack Hudson has officially resigned as Editor of Atlanta Free Press.
Xanna Don’t has been named Interim Editor; previously she had served as Contributing Editor and had told APN that she would not work with Hudson after learning about his dishonesty.
Meanwhile, Co-owner Chip Kelley has assumed responsibility for the business operations of the newspaper.
They are planning to put out a third edition this week.
Previously, the other co-owner of AFP, Matt Neumann admitted on the blog comments section of Project Q Atlanta that Hudson lied to Atlanta Progressive News.
Specifically, APN had first reported that Hudson had been terminated from Southern Voice magazine for allegedly fabricating quotes and sources in two articles.
When APN had asked Hudson about the magazine’s claims, he said he could not talk about the incident because he had sued Window Media–owner of Southern Voice, David, and other publications nationwide–and because one of the stipulations of the settlement was that neither party could discuss the incident.
“As for the infamous, ‘I can’t talk about it because of litigation’ comment by Mr. Hudson to a ‘reporter,’ that was a bold face lie,” Neumann wrote.
“A lie from a man who had just worked a day job for eight hours and completed a 14-hour layout marathon to get this weeks issue to press and who had been hounded for hours for a comment on the situation,” Neumann wrote.
Neumann had written on Project Q that he would not accept Hudson’s resignation and even implied that Atlanta Progressive News’s article was somehow “sour grapes,” that is, that the news agency was somehow acting on behalf of the former Southern Voice employees.
APN issued a written response to Neumann, O’Kelley, Don’t, as well as Project Q.
“After reading your email, after sitting down and talking to Matt, personally I was always for getting rid of Zack… We sat down and talked about it and a decision was made,” O’Kelley said.
As for Neumann’s comments on Project Q, “Unfortunately, Matt did a knee jerk reaction,” O’Kelley said. He added that the two co-owners both have busy, sometimes conflicting schedules, and that they had not been able to discuss the matter when the APN story first broke.
O’Kelley said the first time he or Neumann learned about Hudson’s previous fabrication while at Southern Voice was when APN reported it.
He added that he wondered why none of the former Southern Voice staff would have told him directly, especially when they had attended a lunch that he put together to invite them to work on AFP.
O’Kelley said the most he knew about Hudson’s termination from Sovo was that there had been “creative differences.”
“I’m solely responsible for running the paper,” O’Kelley said. “Xanna’s now our editor. He [Hudson] resigned,” O’Kelley said.
When APN noted that Neumann had previously said AFP would not accept Hudson’s resignation, “that was at that time; now we have,” O’Kelley said.
Neumann and O’Kelley are the co-owners of Nightlife Media Group, which also owns Gaydar, a glossy publication that covers Atlanta’s GLBT club scene [similar to the former David Magazine].
The first issue of AFP was distributed throughout Atlanta’s GLBT community on December 10, 2009. AFP is the first GLBT print news publication to emerge after the closure of Southern Voice [and David Magazine] a month ago.
The second print issue hit shelves Thursday, December 17.
Meanwhile, former Southern Voice editors and staffers have launched an effort to start a new publication, GA Voice, to begin circulation early in 2010.
Project Q Atlanta also reported that–bizarrely–there appears to be another fledgling publication and website calling itself Atlanta Free Press, apparently planning to launch a new GLBT news service.
O’Kelley told APN he does not see how another publication could possibly use the same name as AFP, seeing as how they legally own the name.
Project Q Atlanta also reports that a possible fourth new GLBT publication, Georgia Pulse, is being developed by Keith Gross, an openly homosexual candidate for the Georgia legislature.
O’Kelley said it was his understanding that the owner of the Gay Yellow Pages was also involved in that venture.
CLARIFICATION: Thomas Ryan, CFO and Publisher of Carma Productions contacted APN to clarify that the Gay Yellow Pages is a product of Carma Productions, a Georgia corporation he co-owns with Marci Alt.
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