Robocalls attack Reader publisher

By Cameron Rasmusson
Reader Staff

A series of widespread robocalls late last week and this week attacked the Sandpoint Reader and its publisher and co-owner, Ben Olson.

A still frame from a video posted on YouTube with a stack of Sandpoint Readers stolen from area grocery stores and lit on fire. Courtesy YouTube.

The robocalls homed in on Olson’s education and work history managing a bar. They also claimed that Olson threatened a local business owner because of a tenant in one of his properties, an accusation Olson vigorously denied.

“The allegations in the call that I attempted to blackmail a local business owner are completely false,” Olson said. “That is not how the Sandpoint Reader operates, nor how I operate as a human.”

At the beginning of the week, a video sent to Sandpoint Reader advertisers showed a stack of hundreds of the paper’s latest edition being burned. A voice over the images said that if business owners continued to advertise with the paper, they, too, would be attacked in robocalls.

According to Olson, the robocall has had the opposite of its intended effect. Not only did no advertisers cancel contracts with the Reader, but the paper received thousands of dollars in donations and new ad contracts as well. Hundreds also called, emailed or commented on social media to express support.

“The result has been an overwhelming show of moral and financial support to the Reader and the free press in general,” Olson said. “So, to the person behind this, I say thanks for all the free advertising, as well as rallying the community behind the cause of journalism.”

While we have you ...

... if you appreciate that access to the news, opinion, humor, entertainment and cultural reporting in the Sandpoint Reader is freely available in our print newspaper as well as here on our website, we have a favor to ask. The Reader is locally owned and free of the large corporate, big-money influence that affects so much of the media today. We're supported entirely by our valued advertisers and readers. We're committed to continued free access to our paper and our website here with NO PAYWALL - period. But of course, it does cost money to produce the Reader. If you're a reader who appreciates the value of an independent, local news source, we hope you'll consider a voluntary contribution. You can help support the Reader for as little as $1.

You can contribute at either Paypal or Patreon.

Contribute at Patreon Contribute at Paypal

You may also like...

Close [x]

Want to support independent local journalism?

The Sandpoint Reader is our town's local, independent weekly newspaper. "Independent" means that the Reader is locally owned, in a partnership between Publisher Ben Olson and Keokee Co. Publishing, the media company owned by Chris Bessler that also publishes Sandpoint Magazine and Sandpoint Online. Sandpoint Reader LLC is a completely independent business unit; no big newspaper group or corporate conglomerate or billionaire owner dictates our editorial policy. And we want the news, opinion and lifestyle stories we report to be freely available to all interested readers - so unlike many other newspapers and media websites, we have NO PAYWALL on our website. The Reader relies wholly on the support of our valued advertisers, as well as readers who voluntarily contribute. Want to ensure that local, independent journalism survives in our town? You can help support the Reader for as little as $1.