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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Guardian Ditches Julian Davis Endorsement (Update)

Posted By on Tue, Oct 16, 2012 at 3:50 PM

click to enlarge The Guardian drops Davis
  • The Guardian drops Davis

Update (4:42 p.m.): SFBG's Tim Redmond responds to SF Weekly. Read his comments after the jump.

Today, the San Francisco Bay Guardian reversed its endorsement of supervisoral candidate Julian Davis -- and went a step farther, urging him to drop out of the race amid groping allegations.

According to Tim Redmond's editorial today, the newspaper claims it had no knowledge of these allegations against Davis, who denies the incident ever happened.

As the Guardian puts it:

Yes, we knew that in his 20s he was a bit of an arrogant ass. We knew that at one point, he actually got into a tugging match with another person over the ridiculous question of who got to hold a campaign sign. We'd heard that, in the past, at somewhat debauched parties, he'd made advances toward women who weren't interested in his affections. ... But this new information, and his response to it, is alarming.

The Guardian apparently didn't do its homework before it endorsed Davis, so the newspaper was going to make damn sure it did before taking it away. 

Redmond claims that after SF Weekly broke the story on Davis yesterday, the newspaper went out and interviewed folks who corroborated Kay Vasilyeva's claim that Davis touched her beneath her clothing at a political bar-crawl back in 2006. After collecting the facts, the Guardian decided that her story "rings true," while Davis' does not.

We put in a call to Redmond to find out who exactly he talked to and why he didn't talk to these folks before endorsing Davis. We've not heard yet back.

However, Todd Vogt, publisher of the San Francisco Bay Guardian and the San Francisco Examiner (which also endorsed Davis) did talk to us. He told us today that he never supported either papers' endorsement of Davis, but noted that those kind of decisions are up to the editorial staff.

"I was never in favor of either papers' endorsement and I made it clear to both the editorial staffs they better be sure before making that endorsement," Vogt said. "What the Guardian did today was the responsible thing to do, and I am looking to the Examiner staff to act accordingly."

Update (4:42 p.m.): Tim Redmond called us back this afternoon and said the newspaper spent "an awful lot of time" interviewing folks who helped the Guardian make its decision to pull its endorsement of Julian Davis today. He said the paper interviewed as many as 10 people, but he wouldn't disclose who they were since it's a sensitive issue; all those interviewed wanted to remain anonymous and spoke only off the record, Redmond says. 

"I have been a reporter for 30 years, and I did all due diligence to convince us that she is credible," Redmond said regarding Vasilyeva's allegations. "Her story rings true. Does that mean I could prove it in a court of law? No. But I don't have to; this is not a criminal matter."

Redmond stated again, emphatically, that the newspaper did not know about Davis' alleged conduct prior to making the endorsement of the D5 candidate. He claimed that, prior to endorsing Davis, he also talked to "an awful lot of people," but nobody said anything about Davis groping a woman. All he gathered about the candidate was that he was, at one time, an "arrogant ass."

"I wish Kay had come forward and talked to me three weeks ago," he told us. "But you make a decision based on the information you have, and the information I had is what I said in the editorial.

"Honestly, the idea that me or the Guardian would have known Julian Davis groped a woman at a party and we still endorsed him is horrifying," Redmond told us. "Of course we wouldn't have -- it's inconceivable to me."

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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