Local newspaper co-owner, editor faces calls to step down

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FORSYTH, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) — Activists are requesting for Monroe County Reporter co-owner and editor Will Davis to step down from his position after they say he made controversial comments on social media and other online outlets.

Several community groups highlighted previously published comments written by Davis at a rally over the weekend.

“This paper has been tearing us down for 13 years, and it’s time for it to stop,” Dr. Mike Hickman, Monroe County School District Superintendent said. “I said it on my Facebook post, and I wouldn’t have said it if I didn’t believe it.”

Davis issued his first apology for his online comments on the newspaper’s website, but activist Melissa Bugg is not satisfied and wants more to be done.

“We are trying to get him to do the right thing, and just step down from the paper to really understand the damage that he has caused to so many people,” Bugg said. “And to sell his half of the paper. This community needs to heal and he is not a person to heal us.”

41NBC’s Rashaad Vann spoke with Davis on the phone Monday. Davis said he’s unavailable to go on-camera to discuss the incidents but stands by his public apology, which was published in the newspaper recently:

“We want to change that narrative that he has been in control of for so long,” Bugg said.

“He has divided this community so much,” resident Julius Stroud said. “The purpose of our rally is to let everyone know why we were there.”

Critics of Davis told 41NBC their protest was about more than tweets and online comments. They say it was also about his approach to news coverage.

Organizers say they will be asking local businesses to pull the paper from their shelves and to not support the newspaper until changes are made.