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Publication's Piece Causes Controversy


An article a few weeks ago in a local newspaper in New York has a community gay activist alleging homophobia. And now the editor of that article has incorporated the controversy into an April Fools’ Day joke article.

The Rockland County Times, which bills itself as Rockland’s official newspaper since 1888, ran an article March 14, under the headline “Dems to Swing at Party with Pervy Theme,” with the sub-head, “Young Democrats to hold ‘Fifty Shades of Blue’-themed fundraiser. “Fifty Shades of Blue” is a play on the title of an S&M erotica novel, “Fifty Shades of Grey.”  Joseph Coe is the president of the Rockland County Young Democrats Club, and a gay activist in his community.

Dylan Skriloff is the editor of the Rockland County Times, and the article’s author.

He says he was merely satirizing their choice of fundraiser name.

Kristen Stavisky says calling the piece satire is backpedalling. She’s the chairwoman of the county’s Democratic Committee.

And Coe takes issue with having been referred to as “ever-colorful”. Here’s Skriloff on that choice of term, given the name of the fundraiser.

Skriloff then ran a piece March 21, called “Democrats Unhinged”, with a sub-head that reads “Kristen Stavisky loses her marbles defending Coe’s feelings; recruits Dem soldiers to sign hostile petition”.

He says the paper does tend to take a conservative line.

But he says he does not write based on an anti-gay platform.

Rockland Democratic Committee Chairwoman Stavisky says Skriloff’s article, satire or not, was a homophobic attack.

Skriloff points out the publication has had a number of gay employees through the years, including three in high editorial positions. And he says he did not expect the article to be the subject of so much controversy.

After launching a petition on change.org, and calling for the community to boycott the publication, Coe says he plans to do nothing more about the paper. 

Coe says the petition and the allegations of homophobia were brought to the attention of the Rockland County Legislature. A legislature spokeswoman says legislators have no plans to act on any of this.

Today is April Fools’ Day, and Dylan Skriloff ran a mock article he says pokes fun at the whole controversy, entitled, “DWAYNE JOHNSON, RCT PAPERBOY, ANNOUNCES CANDIDACY FOR ROCKLAND COUNTY EXECUTIVE 2013,” with the sub-head, “Come to his fundraiser ‘Dwayne Does Rockland’ next week at Lace in West Nyack.” Coe declined to comment on the April Fools’ piece.

Here are links to the aforementioned Rockland County Times pieces: