The sun shone, the music played, the beer flowed and Cincinnati stood up with CityBeat Friday evening on Fountain Square as Co-Publisher Dan Bockrath delivered our official response to those who requested we change our advertising policies. Thanks to all of you who came out to cheer us on and listen to some great live local music (and thanks to everyone who couldn't make it out but sent notes of support).
Here's what Dan read:
Good evening and thank you for coming. My name is Dan Bockrath, and I am the General Manager and Co-Publisher of CityBeat. With me is my partner John Fox, CityBeat’s Editor and Co-Publisher, and standing with us are several of our valued employees and freelancers.
On Monday, June 9 a coalition of clergy, law enforcement agencies and non-profit organizations, led by Citizens for Community Values, held a news conference at City Hall requesting that CityBeat eliminate all of its adult-oriented advertising. CityBeat was not invited to this news conference.
On that same date we were given a letter signed by 39 people — including Hamilton County Sheriff Simon Leis, Campbell County Attorney Justin Verst, Kenton County Attorney Garry Edmondson, Dearborn County Attorney Aaron Negangard, Cincinnati Police Chief Thomas H. Streicher Jr., current Cincinnati City Councilman Chris Monzel and former Cincinnati City Councilman Charles Winburn — with that same
request. It is worth noting that the aforementioned government officials signed this letter in their official capacities, not as private citizens.
We want to make our position clear, and so we state publicly that CityBeat does not accept advertising for illegal services or activities. Further, we have and will continue to fully cooperate with law enforcement when any advertiser is being investigated for illegal activity.
At the same time, we accept advertising from all enterprises that represent themselves as providing legitimate and legal products and services. We do not make relative moral judgments on any business placing ads in CityBeat. Doing so would place us on a very slippery slope and would also be inappropriate.
As an example, there was a major story in the news yesterday that more than 400 real estate industry players have been indicted as part of a Justice Department crackdown on alleged mortgage fraud. So would it be fair to say that media companies should no longer accept advertising from businesses offering mortgage services?
CCV and its coalition believes that we need to show integrity and be responsible corporate citizens. Well, here’s who we are and what we believe in:
CityBeat believes in tolerance, diversity, creativity and progressive ideals. We believe in the repeal of Article 12 and in gay pride. We believe in Downtown, city living, light rail and streetcars. We believe in the Fringe Festival, all performing and visual arts, the Contemporary Arts Center and the Freedom Center. CityBeat believes in environmental responsibility, local farms and organic foods and the wonderful place that is Findlay Market.
We believe Cincinnati is a music town and our local music community is something special indeed. Stay around for the Fairmount Girls, Cash Flagg and Lovely Crash and you’ll see what we mean. Special thanks to Tracy Walker for performing this evening and to Fountain Square Mgmt Group for their strong support of local musicians.
CityBeat believes that independently owned local businesses are essential to our economy. And we believe in supporting worthwhile charities via promotional partnerships too numerous to mention here.
We believe in the power of making a difference and affecting change for a better Cincinnati, and we’ve been actively engaged in these efforts for the better part of 14 years. If these ideals don’t reflect our integrity as corporate citizens, then we don’t know what does.
Most importantly, CityBeat believes in and values freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Government interference with these inalienable rights disturbs us greatly.
And so, to the request made by Citizens for Community Values and its coalition that CityBeat eliminate the adult services categories in both our print and online editions ... our official response is the same as it would be for any other category of legal advertising: NO.
What we have done and what we will continue to do is engage in legal business conduct.
Thank you all for coming out and standing with CityBeat. Your support is genuinely appreciated. Have a safe and pleasant weekend.