Boycott Call Against Ray Mackereth’s Q News
This first appeared in Samesame.com.au on 24 Octoer 2012.
The owner of Queensland gay magazine QNews is facing a community-driven boycott campaign as suspicion about his involvement in the defunding of a local gay men’s health network intensifies.
Rumours have circulated for some time in the Brisbane LGBT community that Ray Mackereth met with key government officials to convince them that Queensland Association for Healthy Communities (QAHC) did not deserve the millions it gets from the state. Then as Campbell Newman’s team swept into power earlier this year, QAHC’s funding was swiftly cut off, seemingly with little or no consultation with its stakeholders in the gay and HIV prevention communities, ostensibly as part of the new government’s controversial cost-cutting measures.
Concerned that Mackereth aimed to profit from QAHC’s demise, as the government’s new HIV awareness campaign is now advertising in QNews, the recently-created LGBT activism blog The Stirrer went public with the allegation yesterday, under the title ‘Gay Businessman Claims He Brought Down Queensland AIDS Council’.
The story, which quotes unnamed ‘well placed sources’ close to the situation, spread quickly via social networks to a mixture of responses yesterday. Its author was a previous contributor to QNews, who says he left the magazine as the QAHC situation developed.
Several commenters via social networks backed up the article’s central claim, saying Mackereth had “bragged” about his involvement in QAHC’s defunding. “He’s a traitor to our community,” read a typical comment, and it wasn’t long before a Boycott QNews Facebook page appeared.
Noticeably absent from the blog’s exposé is a reaction from Mackereth himself. Speaking to Same Same yesterday evening, he flatly denies all the allegations in the article, describing them as “completely untrue” and the work of “people with a vendetta” against him and his business. Last night he was even considering legal action, eager for the article to be taken down.
Mackereth’s lengthy statement now appears on the QNews website, in which he says he has always been a supporter of QAHC, and has never lobbied the government for its defunding.
“Let me state very clearly – not only are these allegations total nonsense, they are just plain wrong and downright offensive,” he reacts.
“We (at QNews) have long prided ourselves with the strong relationships we have built with Queensland’s LGBT community groups and I hope that we continue to do so.”