08 • NOVEMBER 16, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
The Advocate & OUT’s straight owner disputes ‘inaccurate’ rumors Levin concedes he should have researched political donations more carefully By KAREN OCAMB firstname.lastname@example.org Adam Levin realizes now that he might have been a little naïve, contributing to politicians based on their pro-Israel and pro-cannabis positions without looking deeper into their records. But when an Oct. 18 Women’s Wear Daily story suggested the new straight owner of The Advocate and OUT magazines was “a documented supporter of conservative Republican politicians during a time when the culture wars have never been more fierce,” he was startled. And he certainly didn’t expect the backlash that followed. The article painted Levin as “opportunistic,” as one gay observer put it to the Los Angeles Blade on background. He believes Levin is intent on building up, then selling the brands as “assets” to pay down debt on High Times Holding, which Levin runs. “He’s probably bought into the narrative that LGBT people have millions of dollars in disposable income and he wants to monetize the brands. But he doesn’t understand where The Advocate came from or how important the legacy and reputation are for its existence.” Rumors quickly spread about Levin’s plans for Pride Media, his re-branding of the two magazines and other Here Publishing properties he bought last year from Here Media co-owners Paul Colichman and Stephen P. Jarchow. “The LGBT community is fiercely loyal and likes doing business with companies that are LGBT friendly, especially businesses that are LGBT owned and operated. We want to know that we will be treated fairly, equally, without feeling that we are being taken advantage of,” Leo Cusimano, co-chair of the National LGBT Media Association, told the Los Angeles Blade. “We need to hold businesses accountable for their support of our community, as well. Political donations by businesses have consequences.” The Advocate was first published as a gay activist newsletter in Los Angeles to provide news about police bar raids and rallies and protests before Stonewall. The magazine
Adam Levin is the straight owner of The Advocate and OUT magazines.
went through financial peaks and valleys as it attempted to inform and reflect back to the emerging national LGBT community the news, politics and cultural trends as an eyewitness to and sometimes driver of LGBT history. It was often one of the first sources of information for closeted LGBT people, including Pride Media CEO Nathan Coyle, who comes out of mainstream digital publishing. But The Advocate lost its luster and became a subscription insert into the more popular OUT Magazine. As the idea that print media was dying gained more traction, focus shifted to the digital platforms. But money remained an issue. “I took this job to help restore these titles and their relevance,” Coyle told the Los Angeles Blade.
In the WWD story, it appeared that Coyle essentially blamed former OUT editor-inchief Aaron Hicklin for not paying writers, including columnist Michael Musto, who is still owed money. “I really would like the money,” Musto told the Los Angeles Blade. “I have major bills to pay.” Coyle said that Pride Media severed its ties with a company that was supposed to pay the writers after having directly received payment from Here Media. “Aaron was absolutely not to blame” for the lack of payment, he said, adding that Pride Media will make good on the overdue payments. Levin, CEO and Managing Director of Oreva Capitol, sent a statement to WWD to correct the record. “In Today’s Politicized World, We Should Be Careful What We
Assume About Others,” read the title. “Recently, Women’s Wear Daily, a publication I deeply respect, published a piece about me, my business and political beliefs that wasn’t just hurtful, but inaccurate. It is my hope those same editors provide me the opportunity to defend against the false impressions this story may have left in the minds of readers we no doubt share,” Levin wrote. When the letter was posted on Oct. 24, the word “inaccurate” was missing and replaced with the redundancy “but could lead the reader to form the wrong opinion.” There was no mention that WWD apparently asked for the change. Other stories about High Times’ debt popped up online, then were quickly taken down. But with rumors about Levin and
Losangelesblade.com, Volume 2, Issue 37, November 16, 2018