Media Scrutiny in the Age of Trump, Weinstein, and Systemic Sexual Assault

In light of the unearthing of the rampant and systemic sexual abuse in Hollywood coupled with the unnerving daily actions of the presidential administration, anxiety levels are at an all-time high. In addition to this, the media is facing unmitigated scrutiny. Disney banned the L.A. Times from broadcasting and critiquing their films in lieu of their investigation into how Anaheim is being economically starved by Disneyland’s costs. President Donald Trump’s constant evasiveness and paranoia regarding the media is widely covered. Joe Ricketts, Goliath CEO of DNAInfo and The Gothamist, shut down his media corporation leaving an ever-increasing loss of media coverage in Chicago.

The world as we know it is in a state of flux. If budgets are being slashed by billionaire CEOs who are being too stingy to let their writers unionize, if multimedia conglomerates are being absorbed, reabsorbed, while muckraking investigations such as the Harvey Weinstein scandal are being cracked wide open to the zeitgeist, now–more than ever–we need the free press.

Chicago’s artistic communities are not free from the chains of systemic sexual abuse and assault. Last January, the Chicago Tribune broke a story about women in the iO Comedy Club who’d come forward detailing their stories of sexual assault. Now, victims of sexual assault in Chicago’s live-lit community have bravely stepped forward with their own allegations against a sexual predator who–like many sexual predators–used his place of power to coerce or forcibly touch and rape his victims.

As a victim of sexual assault, I’m moved by the bravery of the women who have come forward. I see you, I love you, you are valuable.

Sexual assault and misogyny riddle our sociopolitical climate like landmines. Once you’re assaulted, you’re never the same. That such heinous attacks happen every 98 seconds is sickening.

My mission when founding Chicago Literati was a simple one: I wanted a magazine that was unpretentious and all-inclusive. I wanted it to be a bridge between disparate groups. I wanted it to be a home for writers from all walks of life to be able to tell their stories without fear.

I’m not a billionaire like Joe Ricketts. I work two jobs. Chicago Literati is my passion project. That said, it takes a lot of money to keep afloat. Costs such as web domain and hosting ($99 per year), our Submittable subscription so we don’t have to charge a fee to read submissions ($374.00 per year), and our Duotrope subscription so we can broaden our readership ($45.00 per month), all adds up. I pay for it all out of pocket.

In September 2015, we received our 501c3 status from the IRS. As an education and literacy nonprofit, all donations go to maintaining our platform as a place for artists, bookworms, and writers to express themselves. In times like these, such a place is crucial (if only to maintain joy and sanity in troubled times).

Via our platform on Classy.org, you can set up the opportunity to be a monthly donor and choose the monthly rate based on your fiscal sustainability. Your continued support of Chicago Literati will help us continue to be a safe space for artists and authors as well as a beacon of truth in the ever-dimming sociopolitical climate.  Your active involvement in Chicago Literati will help us continue to grow and cover the stories that matter. 

Consider setting up a monthly donation to us. It might just change your life.

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