Here’s an item that has the scandalous, photo-driven hallmarks of a classic LA Weekly “The Informer” dispatch. The only anomaly is that it comes not from Dennis Romero or Simone Wilson but rather first-time freelance contributor Jonathan Maseng.
Just ahead of the 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games this weekend at the Home Depot Center, LA Weekly has published some absolutely disgusting Facebook photos shared by the the owner of the LA downtown end of the CrossFit operation. The pictures, which you’ll have to click through to see, feature in one case GymFit personnel gleefully standing above a homeless man passed out on a sidewalk.
LA Weekly editor-in-chief Sarah Fenske tells FishbowlLA that Maseng’s story started blowing up this morning around 9 a.m. PT, three hours after it was posted. “Right now we’re getting three times the normal traffic on laweekly.com, entirely thanks to that story.”
The owner of downtown branch CrossFit Mean Streets, Ronnie Teasdale, at least had the good sense to recognize the error of his ways:
Queried by LA Weekly, Teasdale quickly apologized. “I would like to be the first to say that those posts were inappropriate and did not highlight the best aspects of our gym or the CrossFit community,” he said. “I am removing all of the questionable content from Facebook and my website.” He did so, adding, “We are also in the larger process of changing the image of our gym as a whole.”
Meanwhile, CrossFit legal counsel Dale Saran gave Maseng an angrier on-the-record response:
“You framed this as if CrossFit is somehow responsible for what Teasdale or anyone in those pictures is alleged to have done. If a United Airlines pilot goes off and does something wrong, it’s on him — not all of United Airlines… unless what he did is the direct result of a UA policy or procedure.
“I don’t suppose that you’re claiming that CrossFit has a policy or predilection against the homeless — no responsible journalist or person could — and so I don’t expect an article that reflects that…. We do not have franchisees — we have licensees.”
Full Informer piece here.