As the saying goes, there are two sides to every story. Now neighbors of Ryan Gierach, the controversial publisher of the former WeHoNews.com, are reaching out to the media to share theirs.
Gierach has garnered lots of publicity in recent weeks after KTLA5 TV broadcast an interview in which he claimed that in San Pedro, where he has lived two years, he has become the victim of homophobic attacks by this neighbors.
“When I came here my neighbors directly across from me began calling me names — all of them revolving around gay epithets,” he told KTLA reporter John Fenoglio.
Gierach said things got worse after he displayed rainbow flags in honor of Gay Pride month. Then, he said, neighbors began calling him names and assaulting him.
Los Angeles City Councilmember Joe Buscaino staged an LGBT flag raising on Saturday in San Pedro’s Welcome Park to protest the abuse alleged by Gierach. Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn showed up to give Gierach her support. The ceremony was covered by ABC 7 T and various gay publications such as the L.A. Blade jumped on the story.
Oddly, Gierach himself was the subject of allegations of harassment by his West Hollywood neighbors. In a mass email he even acknowledged that he had spent four days in jail after his arrest on charges of felony assault, elder abuse and making terrorist and criminal threats stemming from conflicts with his apartment building manager and other tenants of the Hayworth Avenue building where he lived. He also had been evicted from his apartment at 1050 N. Laurel Ave. Gierach also frequently announced his struggles with addiction, bi-polar personality disorder and homelessness.
Angel Perez reports the story of Ryan Geirach and his neighbors in a different way.
“He lives across from my relative in San Pedro (I don’t wanna release a name because they are pursuing legal action),” Perez said in a message to WEHOville. “He is claiming that his neighbors have created a ‘smear campaign. against him. That he has been on the receiving end of unprovoked slander and how he is being accused of being a sexual predator.
“Well unfortunately all the local media outlets he has contacted have only reported his side, and an untruthful side at that. He is actually only sharing a small amount of the story..
“I am By NO MEANS condoning the usage of racial or homophobic slurs, but it kills me to see him use the LBGTQ community … as a back up method to avoid being exposed for the problems he has caused.
“Ryan has lived at this current residence for about one to two years. Maybe a bit longer, the time line is a little messy since I don’t personally live there. However, when he first came around, he seemed respectable and quite friendly, often bragging about all the advocating work he has done and how he was a veteran. He also mentioned his bi-polar disorder and seemed very sympathetic about those with mental illness, never shying away from an opportunity to share a bit of his background with anyone.
“As far as I know all the tenants in the accused apartment building across from him had nothing bad to say about him at this point. He had encountered a problem with the tenant in the opposite building who was butting heads and causing problems with several people. This particular woman had harassed both her direct neighbors, as well as Ryan and a few others down the block.
“Collectively, Ryan with the help of some of the other tenants, proceeded to follow through with restraining orders, as well as setting up personal cameras, which resulted in everyone getting this nuisance evicted. They even had a little bar-b-que to celebrate.
“He had mentioned a few times how he was well educated on the steps it took to have someone removed and that he had ‘very high up connections’ in both the city and the county. No one ever really paid any attention to those comments because while dealing with that unruly neighbor he was always pretty calm.
“Well around March 20th, the tenant in the opposite building was home with her autistic son. She was staying with her father, who is also a veteran. Her son, who was not taking his medication at the time, seemed to have an episode and had taken off outside in a bit of an emotional breakdown. The mother went to try and gather her son and get him to come back inside as to not disturb the neighbors, as Would any parent while their child (sick or not) was crying hysterically.
“Well at this point Ryan came out and had appeared to be chuckling and making remarks in a mocking manner. At one point even telling her to ‘Shut her kid up.’ She, naturally, responded out of embarrassment, fear, anger and agitation, and responded in a harsh manner, telling him to mind his business and leave them alone.
“(Ryan) started calling them ‘idiots’ and ‘bigots,’ so she started responding just as harsh … respond(ing) with ‘I don’t even know why you’re watching us outside. Are you some kind of pedophile?’
“That was basically the straw that broke the camel’s back … It was around this time that her father was arriving home to the commotion out front. He tried to intervene and calm everyone down and figure out what had happened. His daughter and grandchild went back inside and he tried to get the story from Ryan. Ryan immediately got aggressive, which was understandable but a bit extreme, and proceeded to come at this man a little too aggressively. When (Ryan) got too argumentative the (father) said he was going to go back into the house, that he refused to speak to him until he calmed down.
“After they had calmed down the … neighbor did in fact try and apologize for his daughter’s actions and the way she behaved. He was trying to explain their side of the situation so that all parties could deal with it. Well it wasn’t good enough for Ryan! He started demanding that she needed to not only apologize to him herself but that she would be required to make a formal apology in writing to him to prove she meant it … She, as well as her father, refused. They basically told him that they understood the hurt they caused but were also not going to grovel for forgiveness. That seemed to only set Ryan off further.
“At this point, two of the other neighbors came out trying to defuse the situation … Just asking everyone to calm down because there were several young children in both buildings … Well, Ryan started yelling at them for not defending him and being on ‘his side’ and that he saw them in ‘cahoots with fascists and bigots.’ He then started to accuse the neighbors of saying that they originally accused him of not only being a pedophile but named his direct neighbors kids as the children he was assaulting. (… We have some video of that altercation … that is now being given to a lawyer), which was never true. The daughter did admit to making the pedophile comment but denied naming specific children.
“Almost immediately, maybe two to three days later, Ryan took it upon himself to start writing in chalk outside the opposite apartment different phrases on the sidewalk (and a few times that first day walking into that building’s carport), things like “treat others how you want to be treated , the golden rule,’ ‘fascists live here,’ And ‘love not hate.’ In all honesty no one really cared that he did that. They chalked it up (no pun intended) to just him being crazy. Well the landlord for that building called one of the tenants and asked if they could remove it. They noticed Ryan on camera and wanted whatever he put there to be gone.
That tenant did remove (it) with a broom and water. … (At) some point Ryan came out and started accusing her of taking sides and (that) she was a traitor and now she was going to be a fascist too. She told him she didn’t want to get involved and that she was doing what her landlord asked.
“Well he started yelling from his balcony how she is now violating his free speech and then started telling her to go back to her country … She blew it off because she legitimately did not want anything further to do with this man, called him irrelevant and moved on. He then went back that night and wrote the same phrase again and added her name this time. She noticed the next morning as she was leaving and called the landlord to her building to ask what to do, as she was walking to her car Ryan was heard yelling from his door ‘I guess she *insert name* doesn’t want to be my friend anymore’ all while saying loudly ‘you’ll learn that you’re on the wrong side.’ This tenant has three people who live her, two of whom are minors, and she was genuinely worried for their safety, so she was trying to avoid it.
She was making a point for her teens to go to school and come straight home and avoiding being anywhere he could be. It had nothing to do with the accusations and it was more out of fear that he may get argumentative and aggressive. About a week after this all started he started to make flyers and started putting them on the doors of the four apartments, claiming it was his free speech and his First Amendment right to do so. Again he started yelling ‘I don’t molest children’ and ‘you guys are disgusting’ etc. He was inserting these flyers on the screen doors of these homes. All the tenants kept telling him to leave and to get off the property as he was becoming a nuisance, the police were called and reports were made.
This continued for a few weeks, all while he still was going door to door with more obscenities. He was trying harder than any person I’ve ever seen in my life to provoke the tenants in the opposite apartment complex. Anytime he would write in chalk outside the building, he would throw water from bottles and yell obscenities at the maintenance man who now had to (clean) it so the tenants could avoid any more conflict. That’s where the video clip of what appears to be a dirty diaper (came from). He was throwing those flyers and water etc. at them. So they decided to do the same. So what you are seeing is Ryan making himself to be the victim as he obviously didn’t film himself throwing the items he was tossing first.
“Again this went on … for a few more days of verbal assaults, He could have been an adult and just chose to ignore these people from the beginning, but he seemed to become obsessed with watching them and commenting/accosting them every chance he could.
“Well, a few days later the woman from the original altercation was talking to someone in the parking spot down in the garage when he started acting up again. Yelling obscenities, telling her to go back to where she came from, that racists and bigots were not welcomed. So she kindly told him to go ‘f-ck himself.’ “He got aggravated and pulled his phone out and started filming her and said how this was going to be the proof he needed to have her kids taken and how she was ‘messing with the wrong person.’ She was over it. So she started talking to her friend laughing and pointing in an aggravating manner basically showing him if you want to be a fool then so will I.
“There is no reason to lie, the colorful language was in abundance between both parties. This went on for a bit, during when he allegedly threw something at her while she was walking back with her child, at which point she ran over to him. He seemed real confident and cocky that she wasn’t going to do anything. He taunted her and provoked her and set off to the point where she had spit at him. He started calling her an animal and began with the racist remarks and calling her kid retarded (An interesting choice of words for someone who is preaching all about love and acceptance.)
“The other tenants who were there were trying to end the altercation as it was starting to reach a boiling point of him pushing someone too far. This is his tactic it appears. He seems to back you into a corner, and the second he can he cowers so he can play the victim. The next day a few of the tenants including neighbors in his complex got a hold of his past indiscretions that are on the wonderful internet.
“The second we learned was when he started reaching out to the media claiming he was the victim of this mass witch hunt. We all collectively looked up old tenants and neighbors of this man and not one story seems to be too far from the other. He plays well with others until some pisses him off. Then when they don’t kiss his ass he makes their life hell.
“He has been seen by neighbors in and around the actual block of where he lives putting up some of the flyers himself that he is claiming the opposing tenants are saying about him. He Is playing the victim so hard he is literally making this stuff up himself.
“I’m extremely disappointed in the City of San Pedro and all the news outlets he and his ‘story’ have been featured on. You publicly shamed people who were defending themselves from this man by just accepting his side and not bothering to get both sides. One person has lost their job to him because of these altered videos and two other tenants are now being harassed. I’m hoping you go back and do some research. This is a manic individual who seems fairly content on playing the victim. I really hope all these TV stations take into consideration the BS they have started with this man.”
Police have opened an investigation into the alleged incidents and have interviewed the neighbors but no arrests have yet been made.