LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS) – For the second year in a row, a comedian took top prize in two categories for the Louisville Eccentric Observer also known as "LEO". But now some question whether the comedian is being censored and readers' votes ignored.
The comedian describes his own style with a word we can't repeat on television. He jokingly refers to it as “beyond edgy.”
It's a style his nearly 2 million Facebook followers and quarter of a million YouTube subscribers appreciate. But editors of The LEO aren't amused. Tuesday night, they defended a decision to deny Amiri King his Reader's Choice Award.
The comedian’s rants have drawn attention of millions online. Readers of The LEO voted for him as “Best Local Comedian” and “Best Twitter Feed,” claims you’ll see in print. But the online version is updated and carries an explanation that, after further review, editors have rescinded the award.
“Ultimately, when faced with the decision that we would in one way or another be associated with this person,” said executive editor Aaron Yarmuth, “An award that is in the spirit of open debate and open dialogue, and the reader's opinions -- it was just not something that we could associate ourselves with.”
Yarmuth explained that soon after announcing the LEO winners, readers began complaining about King. Some of those viewers directed Yarmuth and other managers to the comedian’s social media posts.
The final straws, said Yarmuth, were posts about the Donald Trump tape that released last week. The tape includes comments that the candidate has called "locker room talk" while others have used stronger words.
Amiri King calls Yarmuth’s decision “censorship.”
"They said it best: Their views didn't coincide with mine,” said King, “and so, essentially, it makes it not necessarily a Reader's Choice but an editor's choice."
Kings sees the move as just another way of trying to silence people on his side of the issue.
"I think that, what we're seeing a lot of in the mainstream is that, if, you know, your opinion is OK as long as it coincides with the leftist liberal kind of agenda,” said King.
Yarmuth is the son of sitting Congressman John Yarmuth. John Yarmuth also founded The LEO years ago.
Aaron Yarmuth strongly disagreed with King’s take.
“I understand why that would be the easy conclusion to make," Yarmuth said. "From my perspective, it doesn't take my dad being a congressman to come to the realization that these are indefensible. It has more to do with my mother being a woman than it does with him being a congressman, that there are women in the office that I have to look in the eye and this is not a Republican-Democrat thing. This a human thing.”
Aaron Yarmuth is writing an editorial explaining the decision process which hits newsstands Wednesday in the next edition of The LEO.
Amiri King has been active on social media all day with his followers echoing his stance. Those echoes may give comfort to King but Yarmuth insists they only vindicate the decision to rescind the award.