A profile in The Guardian takes a look at the new owners of the iconic newsmagazine, Newsweek, and how IBT Media co-founder Johnathan Davis believes that gay people can be cured through “gay-to-straight” reparative (on conversion) theraly.
IBT Media, led by Davis, 31, and Etienne Uzac, his 30-year-old business partner, bought the magazine last August and detached it from the Daily Beast, with which it had merged three years earlier.
[Davis] dismissed the notion that readers should be troubled by the little-known fact that he has personally endorsed the view, espoused by the so-called “ex-gay” movement, that gay people may have developed their sexuality as a result of being sexually abused as children, and can be cured by therapy to make them heterosexual.
In a Facebook post in February 2013, Davis described as “shockingly accurate” an op-ed article written by Christopher Doyle, the director of the International Healing Foundation (IHF), which works to convert gay people. Davis said it “cuts like a hot knife through a buttery block of lies”.
Doyle, who once identified as gay but is now married to a woman, wrote that “same-sex attractions” are typically felt by people born with a “sensitive nature” and then subjected to “early sexual initiation and/or sexual abuse” or unusual attachment issues with their parents. He said last week that he was delighted by Davis’s praise. “Considering how much of the media is very gay-friendly, this is a breath of fresh air,” he said.
The American Psychological Association states that “ex-gay” therapies are “based on a view of homosexuality that has been rejected by all the major mental health professions.”
When asked if he believed that gay people could be cured, Davis said: “Whether I do or not, I’m not sure how that has any bearing on my capacity here as the founder of the company. I’m not sure how it’s relevant. People believe all sorts of weird things. But from a professional capacity, it’s unrelated.” The post was then removed from his Facebook page.
On Friday, shortly after the Guardian profile was published, Davis sent IBT employees a company-wide memo in which he states that “our company, myself included, has and always will respect diversity in our workplace.”
On Monday, Mother Jones published a lengthy report detailing the extensive connections between religious leader David Jang, the religious college he founded, Olivet University, and IBT Media. Though the story does not suggest IBT’s ties to Jang’s religious movement have influenced Newsweek’s content, Business Insider has found signs infusing the “Gospel message” into media is central to Jang’s concept of journalism.