Leeds-based Esteem Magazine, which boldly claims to be “the North’s biggest lifestyle magazine and the number one free publication in the UK” appears to be imploding after its farcical handling of a tweet from its account on Saturday that stridently blamed Jews for antisemitism. The tweet, in response to another Twitter user who was complaining about antisemitism said: “Omg — why oh why throughout history do Jewish people get verbally and physically attacked? Maybe if it’s happened for millennia Jewish people should look in there [sic] own doorstep. Ask — why is all the time [sic]”.
Esteem Magazine subsequently claimed that its social media had been hacked and complained about the backlash to the earlier tweet, tweeting anew: “Wow. We have been hacked.who we don’t know [sic]. The terrible comments we have received have been shocking.” However the supposed hacker also seems to have been keen to defend the magazine’s reputation after posting vile commentary about Jews, tweeting: “Biggest publication in the N [North] of UK. HOWEVER NOT RACIST. We were pointing out that if there is a problem maybe look at why and address the source. We do not condone any form of racism — you have taken this out of context”. The supposed hacker even allegedly sent a direct message to a Twitter user claiming that they “were simply starting what they hoped would be a healthy debate”.
After a tweet complaining that the backlash on Twitter had “spolit my holiday quite frankly”, the magazine then tweeted that its director and major shareholder, Neil Saville, will be resigning: “A formal investigation will be taking place as to the origin of the comments made. Due to the upset caused by these comments, and the ill health which has since taken him, Neil Saville will be resigning as a director of both Esteem Media and Coppertop Digital Ltd today.” This was followed by another tweet saying that: “On behalf of everyone at Esteem Magazine, we apologise for any upset caused by tweets posted on our twitter.”
However the magazine then took its Facebook and Twitter accounts offline.
When Campaign Against Antisemitism called the magazine on its main number, 0113 258 0752, to request a statement, the person who answered claimed that she was “the cleaner” and that nobody else was in the office. When asked when someone other than “the cleaner” might be available to speak, we were told “maybe tomorrow”.
Campaign Against Antisemitism’s volunteers in Leeds will be looking for copies of the magazine so that advertisers can be contacted, and we have already begun contacting companies which advertise on the magazine’s website.