Patheos continues to struggle to reframe the narrative around the exodus of what is now more than two dozen authors from Patheos Pagan. (About 16 active bloggers left Patheos and 20 current and former bloggers have requested that their writing be removed from the site.)
Most recently, I noticed two significant changes that had been made to public information sites related to this controversy.
First, the page which previously listed the right-wing organizations that Affinity4 funnels charitable contributions to has been removed. (Affinity4 is one of three companies in an affiliation which includes Beliefnet and Patheos.)
This page above previously listed numerous right-wing organizations, including the National Rifle Association, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Focus on the Family, Gun Owners of America, Promise Keepers, Concerned Women for America, the American Family Association, and the American Center of Law & Justice. Apparently, Affinity4 no longer wants this information to be publicly available.
Here’s a screenshot of what used to be displayed on the page:
McGee Steps Down?
Second, the Wikipedia page for Affinity4 was edited to remove Jeremy McGee from the Board of Directors of Affinity4. Jeremy McGee is the current President and COO of Patheos. As you can see from the screenshot below, McGee’s name was added to the list of Affinity4 directors on November 11, 2016.
And then on February 3, 2017, just days after this controversy broke out, McGee’s name was removed from the list of directors of Affinity4, as you can see below. (Fortunately, Wikipedia keeps track of these edits.)
It is unknown whether McGee stepped down or was removed from the Affinity4 Board or if he actually is still on the Board. (I reviewed the corporate filings for Affinity4 with the Secretary of State of Delaware, where Affinity4 is registered, but this information was not publicly available.)
Taken together, these actions appear to be aimed at occluding the relationship between Patheos and the right-wing organizations that Affinity4 funds. And why take these steps of the connection between Patheos and Affinity4 is as innocuous as they keep saying?
Silence, followed by rationalizations
Also, recently, 20 former Patheos Pagan writers petitioned Patheos President Jeremy McGee to have their writing and other content removed from the Patheos domain. There has been no formal response from Patheos.
But Patheos Pagan channel editor, Jason Mankey, did respond in the comments to a recent Wild Hunt article that “Patheos generally continues to host content once a writer leaves …” (emphasis added). The operative word there is “generally”.
Mankey has already removed the blog of Pat Mosley, who was one of the 20 writers who have petitioned Patheos. When asked why Mosley’s blog was singled out, Mankey explained that there was a concern for the safety of the trans-folk that Mosley had interviewed.
However, since Mankey removed Mosley’s entire blog and not just the interviews in question, this explanation falls flat. Perhaps not coincidentally, Mosley’s blog was on of the most political blogs on the Pagan channel.
In a personal communication, Mankey stated that it was because of the great respect he has for Mosley that he removed the blog. (Mosley called for a general boycott of the Patheos site on January 31st.) Mosley deserves every bit of that respect, but it is disappointing that same respect is not shown to the other 19 writers who have petitioned Patheos for the removal of their blogs.