Surfer Magazine’s Long Ride May Be Over

Mr. Prodanovich said that, without Surfer, “there is no authoritative voice left to talk about the culture in an informed way — it’s a huge loss.”

On Thursday, for the first time in its history, according to the editor, Surfer endorsed a presidential candidate, urging readers to vote for the Democratic nominee, Joseph R. Biden Jr. The next day, the members of the staff learned they would be furloughed. Mr. Prodanovich said he believed the shutdown had nothing to do with the endorsement.

“It’s just a really funny coincidence,” he said.

During the 2016 campaign, American Media showed a preference for Donald J. Trump. Its chief executive and president, David J. Pecker, was a longtime friend of Mr. Trump’s, and The Enquirer published a series of articles attacking his political rivals, including Senator Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton.

In a federal investigation of possibly illegal campaign contributions that started after the 2016 election, American Media admitted to prosecutors that it had orchestrated a deal with the onetime Playboy model Karen McDougal — who claimed a past affair with Mr. Trump — in an effort to aid the candidate’s White House bid. In return for their cooperation, Mr. Pecker and another American Media executive, Dylan Howard, were protected from criminal prosecution.

American Media announced in April 2019 that it had reached a deal to sell The Enquirer and other tabloids to James Cohen, a son of the founder of the Hudson News franchise of newspaper and magazine shops. That deal has not closed. Chatham had pushed Mr. Pecker to sell The Enquirer after the publication found itself under federal scrutiny. After the merger with Accelerate360, the company said Mr. Pecker would take on a new role, executive adviser.

Explaining the decision to publish the Biden endorsement in Surfer, Mr. Prodanovich said, “I just felt like, honestly, I would have a hard time sleeping at night not knowing that I did everything I could and used the platform of the magazine to support the person who cares about the environment.”

A360 Media would not comment on Surfer, but said in a statement: “Due to the pandemic’s economic impact on the industry and the cancellation of live events, staff furloughs and the suspension of operations for some brands are necessary for the time being.”

Mr. Prodanovich conjured a scenario in which Surfer would survive: “In a perfect world,” he said, “some benevolent rich dude who surfs and wants a pet project would buy this thing away from A360 and revive it in some capacity, just so that it exists.”

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