When IBT Media acquired Newsweek early last year, it had hoped to rebrand the magazine as a legit place for news. Unfortunately, the new owner seems to have some views that should question his entire motivation for purchasing the news outlet.
The Guardian’s Jon Swaine did an in-depth profile of IBT founder Johnathan Davis. During this interview, Mr. Swaine came across some controversial comments made, not only Davis.
Davis said in an interview that their work and faith were separate, and that he wanted “the journalism to speak for itself” both at their new magazine and at the International Business Times, a news website that was IBT Media’s flagship title until it bought Newsweek.
Similarly, he dismissed the notion that readers should be troubled by the little-known fact that he has personally endorsed the view, espoused by the so-called “ex-gay” movement, that gay people may have developed their sexuality as a result of being sexually abused as children, and can be cured by therapy to make them heterosexual.
In a Facebook post in February 2013, Davis described as “shockingly accurate” an op-ed article written by Christopher Doyle, the director of the International Healing Foundation (IHF), which works to convert gay people. Davis said it “cuts like a hot knife through a buttery block of lies”.
Doyle, who once identified as gay but is now married to a woman, wrote that “same-sex attractions” are typically felt by people born with a “sensitive nature” and then subjected to “early sexual initiation and/or sexual abuse” or unusual attachment issues with their parents. He said last week that he was delighted by Davis’s praise. “Considering how much of the media is very gay-friendly, this is a breath of fresh air,” he said
Davis eventually deleted the Facebook post. When asked about the post by The Guardian, Davis said, “Whether I do or not [believe that], I’m not sure how that has any bearing on my capacity here as the founder of the company. I’m not sure how it’s relevant. People believe all sorts of weird things. But from a professional capacity, it’s unrelated.”
According to the World Health Organization, reparative therapies, “to change sexual orientation lack medical justification and threaten health.”
What Mr. Davis believes to be a reality is nothing more than pseudoscience.
Several hours after The Guardian piece was published, Davis sent out a company wide memo, in which he said,
From: “Johnathan IBT”
Date: March 28, 2014 at 5:51:07 PM EDT
To: “Johnathan IBT”
Subject: Important message from Johnathan Davis
I want to reiterate to all of you that our company, myself included, has and always will respect diversity in our workplace. This is reflected not only in our daily work but also in our hiring and personnel practices. Our team members are hired and retained based solely on their ability to perform the task.
We welcome and support a diverse range of opinions and values. We believe this diversity is critical to success as a world-class journalism organization, and also creates a richer and more productive culture and environment for all of us.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or Etienne if you have any questions or comments.
Johnathan Davis / Co-Founder, Chief Content Officer
Watch The Young Turks discuss reparative therapy and the harmful effects on the psyche.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAhb4mQ6Pj0?rel=0]