As the protest grows outside The Mammalian Daily offices, Managing Editor Orphea Haas has called an emergency meeting this afternoon of all editorial staff.
A spokesAnimal for the paper confirmed that Haas personally contacted editorial staff as well as the photographer who shot the picture that started the protest.
“She is taking this very seriously,” the spokesAnimal said. “We pride ourselves on dealing with all stories with respect and fairness and our publishing record is proof of that. We want to understand fully why this protest has erupted.”
The protest, which enters its seventh day today, began after the paper published a photograph of Rodent Commoner reporter Gunnar Espen Rotte. The photograph was taken as Rotte returned after shopping at a bakery outside The Park. Rotte had bought two pies, but complained that he had been “assaulted” while visiting the bakery. The photograph showed Rotte with his pies but, to some, it appeared that Rotte had in fact stolen the pies. The complainants outside the newspaper offices have said that the way the photographer caught Rotte’s face makes him look “sly” or “as if he got away with something.”
Dedrick Knaagdier of the aid group Rodents at Risk says the photo “redirected the story entirely.”
“This wasn’t about Rotte or pies. It was about stereotyping and prejudice and its abusive consequences. Instead of going after those who allegedly assaulted Rotte, the paper went after Rotte himself. And that is why we must stay here until we have an answer as to why they chose to do that.”
While staff will be meeting inside, Rotte is expected to make an appearance at the protest at 1:00 p.m. Park Police say they are “prepared for whatever happens.”