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Penske Media Facing Backlash Over Ties to Controversial Contractor

Jay Penske CEO of Penske Media

Penske Media Corporation, helmed by CEO Jay Penske, is currently under fire amid allegations of engaging with a contractor whose online presence has been marked by disturbing content. Protests have been taking place outside of Penske Headquarters in Los Angeles as well as one of Penske’s construction projects where the contentious contractor is working.  

The controversy surrounds the prominent media conglomerate known for its publications like Variety, Rolling Stone, and Deadline, employing a contractor, Truewall Systems, who has been called out for regularly posting content containing racist, homophobic, and ageist sentiments on his social media platforms. Going by the moniker fuckstickrick8.0, Truewall Systems owner Richard Earl Lopez has been linked to social media drunken tirades where he berates his workers, calling them names, threatening termination, and openly consuming copious amounts of alcohol.

"The videos are sickening. Toxic masculinity in its most overt form. Richard Earl Lopez or Ricky Truewall or fuckstickrick or whatever he's calling himself that day isn't hiding who he is. Makes you question, is this who Jay Penske is?" says labor activist George Bocanegra.  

Not a Good Look

In the digital age, where social media can build or destroy reputations, companies must be careful in their partnerships and associations. The optics are damaging for a company like Penske Media and its extensive clientele. It casts a shadow over their self- proclaimed commitment to diversity, inclusivity, and social responsibility. In an era where companies are increasingly held accountable for their affiliations, the fallout from these allegations could have far-reaching consequences.

From the Penske Media website "about us"

The involvement of Penske Media with Truewall Systems has prompted a local Union to organize protests outside Penske's offices. The aim is to pressure the media giant to take a closer look at their hiring practices and more importantly, to make sure this never happens again.

Banner outside Penske HQ with Lopez Quote prominently displayed.

"The significance of this issue extends beyond reputational damage; it strikes at the heart of corporate values and integrity. The modern labor movement has fought hard against discrimination and preaches inclusivity. When we find a situation like this, it's like looking into a rear-view mirror back to the 50s." says Bocanegra who is one of the organizers. 

Richard Lopez (Top Left) and screen grabs from a few of his Tik Tok posts

"Any association with individuals or entities espousing hateful ideologies can and should have severe repercussions. In the information age, this doesn't just happen, it's a choice." continues Bocanegra.

How Will Penske Make This Right?

This controversy presents a critical juncture for a company like Penske. The more publicity this generates the more decisive action and a clear demonstration of their commitment to upholding the ethical standards the company preaches becomes paramount. Silence or indifference in the face of such allegations risks further tarnishing their reputation and eroding trust among stakeholders and the public.

Penske Media must take swift and decisive action to address these allegations as protests mount, and public scrutiny intensifies. A reevaluation of their relationship with Truewall Systems and Richard Earl Lopez is in order otherwise their commitment to fostering an inclusive and respectful work environment will always be in question moving forward. Anything short of a proactive response risks further damage to their reputation and standing within the industry.

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