The Chicago Reader fired freelance writer John Greenfield last week after he wrote about hazardous workplace claims at The Hideout.
In his Medium post, Greenfield criticised both current and former Reader writers for how they covered the news and responded to online comments.
The occurrences raise challenges about whether and how journalists should probe race-related charges against Chicago institutions and what they can say about co-workers.
Greenfield told East County Gazette, “I didn’t anticipate the blowback to be so strong, with almost every writer and transportation advocate under 40 turning against me.”
“I’ve spent close to half my life writing for the Reader,” he says.
Tracy Baim, a reader editor, tells East County Gazette that she believes The Hideout charges should be investigated. But her reasons for breaking ties with Greenfield go beyond the latest article.
“My responsibility is to listen to and support my staff, and they weren’t comfortable with Greenfield freelancing,” she adds. “This debate has lasted a year.”
Mykele Deville, a black hip-hop musician and Hideout booker, was dismissed in March and charged in October.
The Hideout’s owners promised to improve and hire a diversity, equality, and inclusion consultant, but they can’t speak for previous workers.
Multiple musicians cancelled gigs, prompting The Hideout to close.
Deville and The Hideout’s owners haven’t spoken beyond online remarks, but Greenfield hopes his tale will spark “further coverage of The Hideout by other writers with credited quotations.”