The Village Voice is a leading extreme liberal free weekly newspaper published in New York City, having a free circulation of perhaps 240,000 per week. It spices its commentary and articles with occasional profanity and sometimes cartoons mocking Republican Party officials, such as former Vice President Dick Cheney.
Founded in 1955 in a two-bedroom apartment in Greenwich Village by Dan Wolf, Ed Fancher and Norman Mailer, the Village Voice remains one of the most influential voices of the American far left. The offices of the paper are at Cooper Square in the East Village.
In 2005 the Village Voice was purchased by a media conglomerate and there has been criticism of its perceived change in character:
- The Village Voice is now managed by two libertarians from Phoenix, Arizona. They merged New Times with Village Voice Media, they took the name, Village Voice Media, but the controlling party are these two from Phoenix. They came to town, they fired veterans, they imposed conditions that were so difficult for others that they resigned, they lost an editor. In the view of many veterans at the Voice, they crushed the spirits of the newspaper and tried to impose a style whose fit for the city remains open to question. For example, many people at the Voice were concerned that there was a political purge ... in my view that's not very alternative at all.
Involvement in child sex trafficking
Village Voice Media has come under fire following a number of arrests for child prostitution were associated with Village Voice owned website backpage.com, and advertising site for "call girls" and "escorts." Underage girls were advertising their "services" on the website. In 2010 one of the victims filed a lawsuit against Village Voice alleging that they aided and abetted forced prostitution, and that they had strong suspicions of illegal activity present on their site. A petition was started by Groundswell, a human rights group, to get Village Voice Media to close backpage.com and to cease providing a platform for sex trafficking of youths. Operation Broken Silence, an anti-slavery group, released reports in conjunction with the Imagine Foundation, an anti-child slavery group discussing the culpability of backpage.com and the impact of its operations in Northeast Ohio and the area surrounding Memphis, Tennessee.
- Dan Savage, journalist and columnist for Village Voice's newspaper The Stranger.