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Newsweek's New Owners Draw Scrutiny For Religious Ties, Anti-LGBT Comments

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Newsweek's new owners are back in the headlines again for anti-gay endorsements and religious affiliations that have resurfaced.

Co-owners Johnathan Davis and Etienne Uzac are the founders of International Business Times Media, which acquired Newsweek last August. Their connection to Olivet University, an evangelical school in San Francisco, has made waves again after the Guardian and other news outlets dug deeper into the pair's history. Christianity Today previously reported on the owners' strong ties to David Jang, a Korean pastor and founder of Olivet University -- and, more damningly, implied that Jang may have had some say in IBT Media's business plan. Davis and Uzac maintained that there was no connection between IBT and their own faith.

But now, the Guardian has confirmed that IBT Media in fact provided funding to Olivet University as well as employment opportunities for its students. Olivet graduates have reportedly been given internships and other media positions at the company. Moreover, Johnathan Davis' wife, Tracy Davis -- who is the president of Olivet -- told the Guardian in an email that “IBT has donated to Olivet."

In their own investigation, Mother Jones found that "Olivet and IBT are linked to a web of dozens of churches, nonprofits, and corporations around the world that Jang has founded, influenced, or controlled." Mother Jones also found that Olivet students were given internships at IBT for as low as $125/week, but were listed in company documents not as interns but as reporters, editors, and salespeople.

The Guardian also uncovered that Davis has personally endorsed the "ex-gay movement" and the idea that homosexuality can be cured through therapy. He publicly supported the views of one op-ed author who claimed that homosexuality is typically the result of sexual abuse as a child. Davis shrugged off the idea that readers should somehow be worried by his stance on gay issues, the Guardian said.

The controversy behind the two owners is the latest in backlash to hit the company. In March, Newsweek made its grand return to print with a cover story identifying Dorian Nakamoto as the "face behind bitcoin"-- but Nakamoto has denied being the man of bitcoin or having hardly any relationship with Newsweek.