WeHo News Publisher Ryan Gierach Sentenced to Drug Diversion

Ryan Gierach, the well-known and controversial publisher of WeHo News, has been found guilty of accosting a neighbor and sentenced to 18 months in a drug diversion program.

The sentence was handed down on July 11 in L.A. Superior Court. Gierach pled no contest to the charge. Gierach was arrested in November of last year after one of what were alleged to be a number of angry confrontations with neighbors at 1245 N. Hayworth Ave. in West Hollywood. A neighbor claimed that Gierach threatened her and threw coffee at her, which led to the charge of battery. Under California law, a person who satisfactorily completes a drug diversion program can effectively have a charge removed from his record.

Ryan Gierach (LinkedIn)
Ryan Gierach (LinkedIn)

The sentence is the latest in a series of misfortunes for Gierach, who launched WeHoNews.com in 2005. For years, WeHo News was the only news medium explicitly focused on West Hollywood. Unlike more objective traditional news media, WeHo News was known for its opinion journalism, with Gierach never reluctant to attack political figures he didn’t like or praise those he favored. Later came Patch.com, the West Hollywood part of a network of news sites owned by AOL that since has been sold and no longer actively covers WeHo news. And then came WEHOville.com, launched in September 2012, with which Gierach has had a contentious relationship.

Gierach has long been open about his addiction to methamphetamine and his financial struggles. In March he sent out a mass email announcing that he and his partner, Marcus Fant, had been homeless for most of the past two years. Gierach said he was in negotiations with a company to buy WeHo News and finance the launch of a print newspaper. He had had meetings with Multimedia Platforms Worldwide, the financially troubled owner of Frontiers magazine, but no deal was made.

In his email, Gierach said he had spent four days in jail after his arrest for another Hayworth Avenue altercation. He said that his arrest was on charges of felony assault, felony elder abuse and felony making of terrorist and criminal threats stemming from conflicts with his apartment building manager and other tenants. Gierach also had been evicted from his apartment at 1050 N Laurel Ave. in West Hollywood, where his neighbors had complained about his abusive behavior and his landlord claimed he failed to pay his rent.

Despite his homelessness, Gierach has posted opinion pieces on city issues from time to time. The most recent was his resurrection of a story he published in 2009 about a man convicted of sexual abuse of two teenagers. On July 10, Gierach announced that the subject of that story had accused him of violating his copyright on photos that Gierach published on WeHo News. Gierach replaced the photos with an obscene image. Gierach also was one of the handful of people in the audience at the West Hollywood City Council’s morning “retreat” on July 16.

At the end of the 18-month rehab period, Gierach is scheduled to appear before a judge on Jan. 11, 2018, who will consider whether to dismiss the charge against him.


14 Comments
  1. West Hollywood is a pathetic Oz for wounded gay men from afar, always willing to forgive. We are not all damaged goods and we do not all feel special.

  2. There must be some other newsworthy items that could take up this space. Maybe John Heilman has a hot date and put that next to this article and together its the WeHo Enquirer. In other words, – its not news that fit for or necessary to print. Let Ryan heal.

  3. While it’s no secret that was unable to respect Ryan in his professional career, it was with much sadness when I saw his life spiraling into addiction and out of control. The article in LA Weekly about his alleged abuses while living in a homeless shelter (yet still able to pay rent on an office in the French Market building…..), it was impossible not to see the degree of mental illness that was griping him. So while we may not be friends, I hope he finds his way to sobriety, good mental health and to a life that in which he feels safe and fulfilled.

  4. When Ryan dropped out of sight – again – I was quite timid about inquiring after him because his life had been so difficult. One could easily imagine the unthinkable but inevitable. So, until I read this piece I’d had no idea of his situation. Since it s first year, Ryan and WeHoNews published nearly 200 of my sometimes incoherent views on politics, cats and dogs, the weather, my neighbors and the price of cement in Akron. In the process of scribbling all that stuff I found that I became a better writer and grew the confidence to pursue other writing gigs. I can only wish Ryan the grace and plain guts to complete the program and come back into the world. He is as much of West Hollywood as any .

  5. Hank, thanks for your response. A few follow up points I’d like to make, for your consideration.

    – Your story about being arrested was an opinion/editorial piece, which was somewhat motivated by your wish to express criticism of the LASD. It wasn’t just a regular “news article.” And it was something you chose to run about your personal experience:

    https://www.wehoville.com/2015/02/17/handcuffed-and-locked-up-my-encounter-with-the-west-hollywood-sheriffs-station/

    – You make an interesting point about Gierach being a “public figure.” I would counter that by saying that his blog has little activity these days. Further, as Romaine pointed out, you don’t consistently report on the trials and tribulations of all other “heads of important businesses” in this city. And why do we need to know that Gierach “might be moving to Long Beach?” There wasn’t even an indication that he was shuttering WehoNews in the process:

    https://www.wehoville.com/2015/10/07/weho-news-publisher-ryan-gierach-is-moving-to-long-beach/

    – Romaine is also correct that you retread Gierach’s past in many of these articles, such as his addiction issues. I think we all know full well about that by now. Especially after the LA Weekly cover story from a few years back.

    – Most important, you’ve had personal drama with Gierach in the past. And he has written articles/essays about you. You have bias towards him (and I can’t say I blame you). Can’t the two of you just let it go?

    Thanks.

    Randy

  6. Dear Randy,
    Gierach makes himself a very public figure in this community. The actions, especially criminal, of public figures are newsworthy. I’m sure the people at his last apartment would have loved to know how unstable and dangerous he is so they could have avoided being attacked.

    Furthermore although Gierach is once again playing the victim and crying it’s libel I don’t see how that’s true when you can search public court records and see the charge and verdict.

  7. I wholeheartedly agree with Randy. This is the kind of article that makes me rethink reading Wehoville because it was this kind of attitude that made me stop reading Wehonews. I am sure that other “heads of important local businesses” have had issues with the law over the years (DUIs, speeding tickets, perhaps), but there’s no mention of them nor do I think they need to be. Knowing this information doesn’t make me a more knowledgable Weho resident which is my barometer of what I consider news. Even if one does think that these events are newsworthy, I would say that retreading some of the details from this man’s life mentioned in this article is unnecessary.

  8. i wish ryan well, as he has always been kind to me. if his troubles are drug related, i am here to help. if not, i hope whatever services he needs he is getting. i’d offer the same assistance to any community member in need of help.

  9. Hank, you asked for improvements to WehoVille, and I almost mentioned your articles on Gierach. Please explain why this is newsworthy? He was your competitor. I know you’ve had drama between the two of you. I’m not sure what the intention of posting an article like this is. To make him look bad? I know he has posted articles about you, but this publication should be above that.

    I don’t know him, and I’m not defending him, or his publication. But I just don’t understand the point of continuing to post articles highlighting the drama going on in Gierach’s life. How does this benefit the community? Its not like there’s a lot of activity going on over at WehoNews these days, and even if there were, I still don’t get why his personal dealings are relevant.

    1. Randy: Crimes involving major public figures — City Council members, heads of major non-profit organizations and heads of important local businesses, to cite a few examples — are news. For example, WEHOville published a story about my being arrested by West Hollywood Sheriff’s deputies and charged with talking on my cell phone while driving and interfering with a police officer. Ryan Gierach is a major public figure, and his public trials and tribulations, while certainly sad, are news.

  10. Too bad, so sad. Such a waste of a great talent who has been a very important part of West Hollywood from the beginning. My best wishes as always

  11. Drugs are such a major problem with all age groups. It is an epidemic. I was in a horrific auto accident and am commenting from my hospital bed in Palm Springs.

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