Metro Weekly—an award-winning LGBT weekly in Washington, DC—has fallen prey to a vandal or vandals tossing multiple issues and filling bins with garbage and feces.
Part of what some are calling an ongoing attack on gay neighborhoods in the District, attacks on the bins date back to February. The most recent incident occurred September 13, when drivers found animal and/or human feces in some distribution boxes.
[Co-publisher Sean] Bugg said someone has been targeting specific boxes, primarily those located around Dupont Circle and Connecticut Avenue NW, the 17th Street NW corridor, and the area on P Street between 15th and 14th Streets NW. Sometimes all the issues in a box are simply removed, often to nearby garbage cans.
Other times, they have been filled with garbage, such as banana peels and foul-smelling substances, including masticated food and fecal matter, seemingly both animal and human.
”It’s really horrible for our readers in those neighborhoods to have those boxes vandalized in such a grotesque way,” Bugg said.
The magazine has a strong focus on politics, both local and national, as well as comprehensive cultural coverage: ”We don’t have provocative covers,” says Bugg. ”But if someone has anti-gay animus, any cover will be provocative.”
Metropolitan Police Department’s Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit (GLLU) has been notified of the situation.
While litter inside newspaper boxes is not uncommon, the nature of the vandalism, and its specificity, indicate the attacks are deliberate. An unidentified man has appeared on video surveillance disposing of copies of the magazine. While the suspect has been seen entering the basement of the National Society of Daughters of the American Colonists (NSADAC) on Massachusetts Avenue, the group has denied any involvement.
In video shot by a distribution driver, the man is seen carrying a stack of issues into the building’s basement and then disappearing from view.
“The severity of the behavior has escalated,” the driver told police. ”The waste material he places in our distribution boxes is filthy, disgusting and repulsive… Lately, it includes the dumping of large amounts of human feces, which is certainly a health hazard, as well. The boxes have been removed, washed, sterilized and replaced, only to find the same horrible material in them again and again.”
Metro Weekly co-publisher Sean Bugg says he believes the attacks are a hate crime, but one that’s really against his readers. “I can print as many issues as I want. I can put more issues out if I want, and I will. But it’s just unbelievable in this day and age that somebody would be engaging in this kind of nasty, disgusting, reprehensible attack.”
Photo: David Uy