"The Independent" - deja vu, etc.

UPDATED February 14

At last Friday's "Community Forum" in Bridgehampton, East End Independent newspaper owner Jerry Della Femina appeared to hear east enders including Shinnecock Tribal Trustees Randy King and Lance Gumbs, East Hampton Supervisor Bill McGintee and actor Alec Baldwin call for the firing of Independent Editor Rick Murphy.

A total of more than fifty people attended the meeting at the Hayground School on Mitchell Lane. There were no supporters of Mr. Murhpy's continuance as editor. There was some disagreement on how to persuade Mr. Della Femina to act. Some urged a campaign to get advertisers to withdraw.

For his part Mr. Della Femina stated that he would not fire Murphy, even though his wife, his daughter and a partner would be very happy if he did.
He promised that there would be 'a new Independent'. He will review each of Mr. Murphy's columns before they are published. He offered the group that organized the forum space in the newspaper to present their views.

When it was mentioned that Mr. Murphy's columns had met with criticism and protests in the past, Della Femina stated that it was news to him.
Apparently his memory is failing him. See below on protests in 2003 and 2004.

For those who have not noticed, Rick Murphy, the editor of a weekly newspaper on the east end and its owner, advertising exec Jerry Della Femina had to apologize this week for Murphy's incredibly sexist and racist columns aptly called, 'Low Tidings'. The columns featured caricatures of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and derogatory language.

Mr. Della Femina says it won't happen again. He won't fire Mr. Murphy but he will review his column each week. Does all this sound familiar?

from the April 8, 2004 East End Report

East End Independent Draws Ire of Shinnecocks and Non-Natives

Last fall a group of east enders visited the East Hampton/Southampton Independent newspaper office to complain about racist and insensitive language by the newspaper’s editor Rick Murphy. The protesters were branded “nitwits” by Independent owner Jerry Della Femina.

Last week’s Independent reported in their April Fools edition on a fictitious Fred Thiele survey which found that "95% of the people on earth hate Shinnecock Indians and want them to go away"

This attempt at humor prompted another protest Tuesday morning at the Independent’s office. The protesters included members of East End Women in Black, Eastern Long Island NAACP and the Southampton Anti-Bias Task Force along with Shinnecock tribal members.

They stood in silent witness with signs. One Shinnecock woman asked to speak with Independent Editor Rick Murphy. Apparently, Mr. Murphy did not wish to speak to Rebecca Genia, but was persuaded by a East Hampton Police officer to do so. The police had been called by the newspaper staff.

Tribal member Reverend Holly Haile Davis says “We listened as he refused to understand who she was and what she was doing there, assuming her to be just another nit-wit he'd encountered last fall”. Ms. Genia demanded that Mr. Murphy resign. Mr. Murphy declined.