Jewish journalist demoted over Chicago Dyke March coverage
Last month an LGBT publication, the Windy City Times, carried a report by Gretchen Rachel Hammond, above, that three Jewish women were ‘ejected’ from Chicago’s Dyke March because they had annoyed pro-Palestinians and others with their ‘Zionist’ chants and rainbow flags bearing the Star of David.
The march organisers were livid over the report, and Hammond was demoted.
Alexis Martinez, a core organiser with the Dyke March Collective for eight years, told Windy City Times that because the story hadn’t been accurately reported, and that no one from Windy City Times approached the Dyke March collective for a statement, it was unfairly maligned from the outset.
She also denied that the women had been ejected. Instead, Martinez said she spoke to one of the women who said that she was proud of her Zionist views and she needed to be able to express them.
I told her ‘This isn’t the format to do that. Either you have to stop or you have to leave’. They refused. We don’t have an armed security force to push people out so I left. They stayed around the park until the whole event was over. They were still there an hour and a half later.
The way it’s being framed is that we acted against Jews or Judaism but we tried to get other Jews to intervene in the situation; to calm the situation down before somebody got angry and escalated the situation, which is the way that we dealt with the radical Christian group that was there.
Within 12 hours, this was all over the world. I was reading these headlines and it was all a fabrication.
As a consequence, the incident “ballooned into an international controversy” – and, according to this JTA report, Hammond, an award-winning journalist, was knocked down to a position in the sales department on July 10. She told JTA that she was looking for a reporting position elsewhere.
In a message yesterday to Dyke March’s Twitter account, Hammond said:
You attacked, humiliated and robbed me of a job.
Hammond said that in the wake of her article, she received dozens of threatening anonymous phone calls. She said one caller called her a “kike”, while others told her she should lose her job or said she “betrayed” the LGBT community.
One of them said, ‘I’m going to get your bitch ass fired’. It was vicious. It wasn’t even a request for dialogue. It was, ‘You fucked with us. We’re going to fuck with you’. They pretty much blamed me for the whole thing blowing up at them.
Jewish organisations have accused the Dyke March of anti-Semitism. But organisers said the women had caused trouble because they had “repeatedly expressed support for Zionism during conversations” with other marchers.
The Dyke March was founded over 20 years ago as a left-wing, women-centered alternative to Chicago’s annual Pride Parade, which the Dyke March’s website calls “corporate, white male dominated”. The march bills itself as anti-racist, anti-violent and anti-Zionist.
This year’s march drew some 1,500 people.
Windy City Times publisher Tracy Baim confirmed last week that Hammond had been moved, but would not elaborate. Regarding the newspaper’s coverage of the Dyke March, Baim said the editors:
Stand by our reporting by Gretchen and our other reporters on that story.
The Wider Bridge organisation, represented at the event by its Midwest manager Laurie Grauer has demanded an apology from the Dyke March for “for dismissing LGBTQ Jews”.
Hat tip: Trevor Blake