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1980. Media: The New York Native — 7 Comments

  1. It’s amazing how bizarre Charles Ortleb really was. I was the first managing editor for The New York Native and at the same time, Christopher Street Magazine. Ortleb was so self loathing that he did not believe there could be such things as gay teens. The Native pulled articles on gay parenting as inappropriate for children to have gay parents. He was a firm supporter of Molestation Breeds Homosexuality and it was his attempt to skew the articles his staff wrote to promote being gay as the problem that led to his combatting the scientific community regarding AIDS. It as also why after the second year the entire staff had left and he replaced what could have been a great team with the weird crew that eventually brought the paper to its knees.

    • Conspiracies and those who promote medical misinformation are more dangerous that one might realize.

      I worked for Charles Ortleb, a conspiracy theorist, who believed the HIV/AIDS was a hoax instead he believed that it was HHV6 African Swine Flu Virus. It has long since been disproved that HHV6 African Swine Fever Virus) is the cause of AIDS. It has been proven that HIV is the cause of AIDS.

      I worked for That New Magazine, Inc. Chuck Ortleb was the Publisher-in-Chief. I watched as he funneled money from both Christopher Street Magazine as well as TheaterWeek into the struggling New York Native.  At one time, That New Magazine, Inc. published The New York Native, CityWeek, TheaterWeek, Opera Monthly and Night & Day Entertainment Guide. 

      I served as their Administrative Assistant and I tried in the worst way to get Neenyah Ostrom (One-time Managing Editor and journalist) and Chuck Ortleb to stop publishing about AIDS and HHV6 and focus on local events in the LGBTQIA community, all no absolutely no avail.

      In all fairness and to give credit where it is due, I will say that the article by Larry Kramer which appeared in the March 27, 1983 edition of the New York Native entitled 1,112 and Counting was groundbreaking. The Native was the first newspaper to even publish a story on the AIDS epidemic.

      The Native could no longer get advertisers to advertise with them because of the obsessive articles about HIV not being the cause of AIDS.  Every issue had more and more misleading information.  I watched as an increasing number of community centers bars rejected the New York Native.  Advertisers refused to advertise in the Native, so he took the successful TheaterWeek and Christopher Street Magazine and sadly dragged them down along with the Native. It all blew up when in January 1997 TNM, Inc and all its publications went bankrupt.  It was sad and pathetic really.  I watched as he went deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole of conspiracy theories. He believed that this was all a government conspiracy designed to kill off all the gay men.

      It is really sad that many good people lost their jobs because he refused to budge.  He surrounded himself with yes-people who would or could not stand up to him.  Reminds me of someone in the Oval Office.

      I’ve lost two close friends because they, believing this harmful nonsense, took themselves off the medications that were saving and prolonging their lives. They read and believed Chuck’s books, were subscribers to the Native. They believed in these long disproven theories.

      I cannot stress enough how irresponsible writing like this can be, especially in these horrid times. As children die due to diseases that were one irradiated because they refuse vaccines. As they endanger the public health by creating measles, mumps and rubella outbreaks across the country. As HIV patients reject treatment and medicines because they believe that HHV6 is the actual cause of AIDS, and this nonsense only serves to give voice to those who refuse to wear a mask.  A simple thing that can prevent many deaths is currently being fought by US citizens because they wrongfully believe Mikovits that the masks cause the illness. 

      I am sorry, I work in healthcare.  I wear a mask all day long for 12 hour shifts.  I see the results of quackery like this being touted. My goal is to help protect lives not harm them.

      This information is dangerous to the unsuspecting public who is already looking for something to give assurances of life. This is medically and socially irresponsible.

      Charles Ortleb should go back to being a playwright, which he is qualified to be, and stay away from medical advice. He has, since the 1980s and 1990s tried, and failed repeatedly, to discredit Dr. Anthony Fauci who is a prominent American physician and immunologist who has served as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984.

  2. I had a ‘long,short story’ published in a sister magazine called, “Stonewall Press”. There was an Editor there named, Neenya Ostrom (my spelling might be wrong).There are some new developments concerning my writing that I’d like to tell her about (or possibly YOU, if you’d care to know). Do you know who she is,and how to contacts her?
    Any help would be of course most appreciated.
    Stuart Lee

  3. I produced a weekly gay and lesbian news report for the Pacifica Radio station in Los Angeles in the 1980s and tapped the Native as a key source of news from New York. Kramer’s “1,112 and Counting” was, in my opinion, one of the most important features to run in the LGBT media ever. It certainly added to the sense of urgency I felt about the epidemic and drove much of my subsequent work as a journalist and as a producer of health education videos in the 1980s and 1990s. I think many of us believed we had a responsibility – and a limited amount of time – to save the next generation. Whatever its failings, the Native holds an important place in the history of LGBT journalism. Thanks for this article.

  4. Pingback:HIV/AIDS: A Brief History of AZT – Part Two – Gay in the 80s

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