Chamber of Commerce endorses mayor's request for Philly mag probe

The Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce on Thursday endorsed Mayor Nutter's request that the city Human Relations Commission look into the controversial Philadelphia magazine story, "Being White in Philly," and pledged to participate in the inquiry.

Nutter last week wrote a letter to the commission, asking it to study race relations in Philadelphia and consider a "rebuke" of the magazine, which has been widely criticized for perpetuating racial stereotypes by publishing a story on race that relied exclusively on anonymous white Philadelphians.

Nutter's letter raised eyebrows because it questioned whether the article should be protected by 1st Amendment free-speech rights and compared it to yelling "Fire!" in a crowded in theater.

Asked whether the Chamber supports Nutter's line of thought on free speech, a spokesman said the Chamber did not want to comment "on the specifics of the mayor's letter" but would support an inquiry by the commission.

In a press release Thursday, the Chamber said, "While we recognize the rights to freedom of speech of all, we abhor written and spoken commentary that is divisive and lacks appropriate balance."