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Matt Gibson sold the Missoula Independent, fired the Indy staff, now living in “decadence”

I made a mistake.

Last week I nearly published the below piece on the former owner of the Missoula Independent, Matt Gibson. I wanted to inform the residents of Missoula and readers of newspapers in western Montana of what the former owner of the Missoula Independent did in his spare time and what he did with the money from the sale of the Missoula Independent.

No one asked me to write the piece and no one stopped me from writing the piece. I did all the research for the piece myself and took the screenshot of the photo myself. This was all my discretion and I was wrong.

This is what the former owner of the Missoula Independent, Matt Gibson, does in his spare time with his fast cash for the sale of Missoula’s beloved alt-weekly.

That’s a plate of it looks like 5, 6, 7? different types of caviar. Jesus, Matt, just stop rubbing it in, we get it.

While the 12 employees of the Missoula Independent have been fired Matt Gibson has profited off of their labor, sold it to the competition and been integral in its shutdown.

At least he can enjoy his caviar in peace though with out all those chants of #KeepMissoulaIndy

Here are some other perspectives on Matt Gibson from Missoulians:

From former Missoula School Board member Julie Tompkins:

From former Missoula Legislator Ellie Hill:

I didn’t publish this piece because I thought that Lee could actually come to the negotiating table and keep the Missoula Independent open, but it is obvious that they merely bought the Independent to destroy their competition.

Never again will I let a corporation or those in power off the hook, even for a second, I can’t believe I didn’t share this with you earlier.

By the way, I recommend reading the Missoula Current, the only independent option left in Missoula.

Here is the piece I regret not publishing last week:

TITLE: Former Missoula Indy Owner Matt Gibson Eats Caviar, While His Employees Threatened with Layoffs

The man who sold the Missoula Independent to Lee Corporation is living it up, eating caviar for breakfast, really rubbing it in the face of the journalists at the Missoula Indy who are being threatened with layoffs after he sold them.

What else would you expect in 2018? The rich literally are laughing in the face of workers and spitting on them as they pass them on the street.

Matt Gibson was the owner of the Missoula Independent and upon selling the paper to the Lee Corporation he was named general manager of the Missoulian, the Ravalli Republic and the Helena IR. It looks like his price wasn’t very high to sacrifice the livelihood of his former employees. He has expressed no concern for them as they are threatened with losing their jobs after he sold them like chattel.

Matt Gibson is living it up, enjoying his new life with no regard for his former employees.

I wonder if Matt Gibson dined on the Caviar Bump when for dinner the day he ate caviar for breakfast. The new $68 a “hit” menu item is all the rage on the coast.

The Columbia Journalism Review wrote about the future of the Missoula Indy last year after the sale and Matt Gibson thought it was ever so charming that someone would worry about “his paper.” Yes, he still calls it “his paper”, well for a man who lives in the Missoula community, his love for a cornerstone of it only extends in name only to his former paper. The Missoula Indy is looking at a future where the name will be the only thing that Lee Corporation uses as they make it the weekly shopper just to sell more ads.

Matt Gibson needs to show more commitment to the community he lives in and needs to understand that the paper he sold is integral to the community, it’s social, economic, and cultural life. The Missoulian is a daily paper that few love in that town.

The Missoula Independent is loved by all and if the Lee Corporation lays off all its workers and then tries to keep pushing it out under that name you can expect a revolt from the citizens of Missoula. How that revolt shapes up one can only imagine, but the community stands with the employees of the Missoula Indy. Just look at this example.

From a series of tweets from a writer at the Missoula Independent, Derek Brouwer:

This afternoon, a man walked into the Indy asking to buy an ad with the #KeepMissoulaIndyMessage. He was told, per Missoulian GM directive, that no ads with the hashtag or expressing support for the Missoula Indy Union will be accepted. This is incredible disappointing.

No one recognized the man. So our staff union campaign inspired a community member to pay Lee Enterprises, but the company isn’t willing to take his money – money it says is desperately needed to keep the paper open – because it opposes his #KeepMissoulaIndy message.

This isn’t the first time the company has turned down money to keep pro-union sentiment out of the paper. When Missoula Indy Union first formed, Lee rejected an $800 ad buy from a group of former Indy staffers and freelancers.

This is an absurd story and it just goes to show how far corporations are willing to go to fight unions. The Missoula Independent is being threatened with a total shutdown or minimally most staff laid off. This is outrageous and unacceptable and the people of Missoula won’t stand for it.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.

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