Eli Broad, Ex-Mayors Among Civic Leaders Criticizing L.A. Times Over Publisher's Firing

AP Photo/Los Angeles Times, Kirk McKoy
Austin Beutner

Austin Beutner was fired from the L.A. Times on Tuesday.

The L.A. Times is under fire from 50-plus Los Angeles civic and business leaders over its Tuesday firing of former publisher Austin Beutner.

In a letter sent to the Times Thursday, addressed to CEO Jack Griffin and the Tribune Company board of directors, leaders expressed their "disappointment" of the oust.

"We are writing to you on behalf of a broad cross section of the people of Los Angeles to express our profound disappointment regarding your decision to dismiss Austin Beutner as publisher of the Los Angeles Times," the letter reads. Both former mayors Antonio Villaraigosa and Richard Riordan and billionaire-philanthropist Eli Broad (who previously bid on the Times) signed the letter.

It continues, "The Times struggled through a series of financial and operational difficulties for many years, yet Austin had demonstrated in only a year that the Times was once again capable of impactful journalism and meaningful community leadership. Making such a drastic decision to terminate him after he had served less than a year in that position is both curious and disappointing to us. To the contrary, we all looked forward to seeing even more progress under Austin’s leadership."

The letter concludes, "With our love of the city and of the Times, we strongly urge you provide the Times with the leadership and support that its readers deserve."

Beutner was abruptly released from his position earlier in the week and posted a lengthy Facebook message alluding to the reasoning for his dismissal.

Read the letter here.