'N.Y. Press' Editor Quits in Wake of Pope Cover

By: E&P Staff Jeff Koyen, editor of the alt-weekly New York Press, quit today after refusing to accept a two-week suspension in the aftermath of the paper?s controversial ?52 Funniest Things About the Upcoming Death of the Pope? cover story, Koyen said.

The article by Matt Taibbi had drawn heated denunciations from the likes of Sen. Chuck Schumer (?The most disgusting thing I've seen in 30 years of public life") and a spokesman for Mayor Michael Bloomberg ("As disgusting as this is, it's sadly par for the course for this publication").

In a letter published this afternoon on the gossip Web site Gawker, Koyen blasted his publisher and owner for not standing up to the criticism.

?This morning, I was told to accept a two-week unpaid suspension. During that time, I was to ?think about what this paper should be,'" he wrote.

?Problem is, New York Press already is the paper it should be. We are iconoclastic, occasionally obnoxious but always intelligent. If you see through the nasty Pope jokes, for instance, you will see a well-reasoned political argument. ... I did my best to show this battle to be one of free expression.?

A comment from the publisher of New York Press, Chris Rohland, is included in a separate story on E&P Online. In it, he says that he vetted the Pope story before publication, and that the actual reason for the suspension stemmed from Koyen, against orders, running a parody of a New York Post cover (on the death of the Pope) on an inside page.


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