The new editor of Gay Times has been suspended after a series of offensive tweets published by Buzzfeed LGBT editor Patrick Strudwick.
Josh Rivers took over as editor of the magazine last month and his appointment was hailed as a new dawn for diversity in LGBT+ media.
The 31yo British-American, mixed-race former marketing manager is the first BAME editor of a gay magazine in the UK.
Now a series of tweets about Jewish people, lesbians, Asian people, overweight people, “ugly” people, trans people and women dating back to 2010 threaten his future at the magazine.
In one post, he linked the size of an actor’s nose to his being cast in a Jewish role:
In a further post about Jewish people, he celebrated a line from the edgy hit US show Family Guy:
Jewish RuPaul star Jinkx Monsoon has tweeted following the Buzzfeed article, asking fans what to do, but stating that she intends to appear as host at the Gay Times Honours awards on Saturday.
“Just now finding out about the sad business with the (now suspended) editor of
@GayTimesMag.” She said “– I am to host their Honours event this Saturday.”
She continued: “I believe I will still host, as pulling out would be punishing the wrong people. I don’t believe in punishing those who weren’t involved.”
In a post about a woman Josh Rivers had seen, he tweeted: “I’ve just seen a girl in the tightest white tank & lord help me if she’s not pregnant, she should be killed. #gross”
In a similar tweet, he wrote: “And, “Fucking cunting whiney cunts. Cunting whiney fucking cunts. Go change your fucking tampon & stay the fuck out of my way.”
In another post, he made a comment about Egyptian men, casting them as “smelly” and “racists”.
This afternoon, Gay Times released a statement confirming Josh Rivers has been suspended, stating: “Josh Rivers’ past tweets do not align with the values of Gay Times, or any of our employees, in any capacity.
It continued: “Josh has been suspended with immediate ffect while we investigate the facts. Appropriate action will be taken in due course.”
Former online editor at Gay Times, Josh Withey has tweeted saying: “The two years I spent as online editor of @gaytimesmag were some of the most enjoyable and educational of my career. I hope that (publisher) @JamesFrostEssex is looking hard at the outrage from the entire world…and is considering serious and immediate action.”
In posts concerning the lesbian community, he wrote: “So was getting geared up to watch Lip Service. Turns out it’s about lesbian dramas. DELETE.”
He also tweeted the following about a lesbian neighbour:
Last week, Josh Rivers tweeted in support of the trans community, saying “When battling transphobes and racists, it’s important to keep your energy up.”
— Josh Rivers (@_joshrivers) November 11, 2017
This sentiment is in stark contrast to previous tweets before his appointment as Gay Times editor about trans people using the terms “Tranny” and “Trannie.”
In one example, dug out of Rivers’ account by the award-winning journalist Patrick Strudwick, he wrote: “Look here, tranny. 1) you look like a crackhead 2) YOU’RE A TRANNY & 3) your wig doesn’t deserve a mention. Avert your eyes, honey.”
In a further litany of ‘cutting’ tweets, he said of overweight people: “obese people wind me up. There should be a fat lane”. In a body-shaming tweet, he wrote: “People-watching in Soho is amaze. You’ll never see a more confident bunch of ugly people”.
Asian men were the subject of a strange tweet, criticising those with “long nails” and calling them creepy:
Homeless people did not escape his attention either: “I’m thankful for TFL [Transport for London] & rising bus fares. Let’s keep homeless people on the streets & off our buses! #TT”
After being hailed as a fresh BAME voice in LGBT+ media, it was revealed he tweeted about Africa, seeming to imply a trip there might prove deadly:
In an extraordinary interview for Buzzfeed by Patrick Strudwick, Josh Rivers seems unaware of his tweets, repeatedly being quoted as simply responding with the word ‘wow’.
He is quoted as saying: “This is really hard to hear,” adding “I’m kind of stunned…” before attempting to explain to Strudwick: “I think it shows an immaturity, a certain amount of self-loathing. I think it shows that before recently I hadn’t been aware of the effects that social media and using platforms in such a nasty and pernicious way had…(I think)…it shows I have grown.”
He apparently responded to the suggestion he might be racist saying: “I think those tweets, yeah, they’re perhaps reflective of a lack of awareness.”
In a tweet this afternoon, he posted an apology, saying: To every single person who is hurt, offended and disappointed: I’m sorry. The tweets are horrible. They are abhorrent. They are ugly. They are so hateful.”
He continues: “These tweets from my past show a deep self-loathing that I’ve worked hard to overcome. I have long taken steps to address the issues that prevented me from treating people with respect and kindness I value so dearly now.
“I hope we can use this as an opportunity for growth, for healing, for moving forward” He said. “As evidenced by my own example, there is so much work to do.”