Updated June 5, 2006 Compiled & written by Mike Fitzpatrick
Quest News Update
Reality Check: The Column
Wisconsin Gay News Skewers Queer Life's Hoffman
Milwaukee - William Attewell's recently moribund Wisconsin Gay News website apparently has resurrected with a bang - or at least a serious slap in the face. The site currently features a cartoon that lampoons Queer Life publisher Donald Hoffman, calling into question the paper's nearly complete lack of coverage of what many in the gay community consider the most important news story of the century thus far: the pending statewide ballot on an amendment to the Wisconsin Constitution that would - in effect - turn every unmarried couple, straight or gay, into second class citizens.
According to Attewell, once publisher of the state's departed LGBT "newspaper of record" Wisconsin IN Step, the statements made in the cartoon about Action Wisconsin are actual quotes made by Hoffman while Attewell worked at Queer Life. The cartoon alleges Hoffman saying that "It isn't my job to tell people what Action Wisconsin is doing to defeat the amendment," and "Action Wisconsin is run by incompetents." The cartoon also details Queer Life's meager coverage of the civil union and marriage ban story, in comparison to the extensive coverage provided by other mainstream and gay media, including Quest.
The cartoon also references Hoffman's widely reported preoccupation with the "Naked Boys Singing" review, front page coverage of which graced several of Queer Life's monthly issues in the Fall of 2005. The closure of the revue, which was mounted Hoffman's Milwaukee Gay Arts Center, resulted in a $630,000 lawsuit still pending against the City of Milwaukee. Hoffman, as a co-litigant in the suit, stands to gain personally if the lawsuit is settled in the litigants' favor.
Attewell left Queer Life suddenly last August, after a confrontation with Hoffman over his behavior toward the veteran journalist, an incident referenced at the bottom of the cartoon. A full account of the incident is revealed in the current edition of Wisconsin Whispers. To see the full-sized version of the Wisconsin Gay News cartoon, click on the cartoon image to the upper left.