At least four female Newsweek staffers resigned from the embattled magazine on Friday after its parent company reinstated an executive following a sexual harassment investigation.
The Friday exodus caps off a week of crisis at the once-vaunted magazine. It comes after a steady stream of journalists resigned to protest the firing of top staffers who had reported on the Newsweek Media Group’s finances. This afternoon, The Daily Beast published excerpts from a recording of a staff meeting with a company executive, Jonathan Davis, in which editors confronted him about the company’s shady business dealings and resulting legal troubles.
“So you should be honest with everybody in this room: Are we running a money laundering operation?” Breaking News Editor Gersh Kuntzman said, according to the site. “Are we evading taxes? You need to tell us that because we can’t work here if you’re a liar.”
Staffers told Splinter on Monday they suspected Editor in Chief Bob Roe, News Director Kenneth Li, and Senior Writer Celeste Katz were fired for reporting on the company. Since then, at least 15 staffers from Newsweek and sister publication The International Business Times have announced their resignations publicly: Rachel Brody, opinion editor; Jason Silverstein, deputy breaking news editor; Matthew Cooper, senior writer; David Sirota, investigative reporter; Jay Cassano, investigative reporter; Alex Kotch, investigative reporter; Jack Moore, correspondent; Linley Sanders, reporter; Kevin Maney, columnist; Sam Schwarz, reporter; John Haltiwanger, reporter; Christianna Silva, reporter; Lauren Gill, reporter; Kastalia Medrano, reporter; Summer Meza, reporter. (Another staffer, Leah Thomas, was reported to have resigned by a colleague.)
Three additional staffers reached by Splinter over the week said they were also contemplating whether to resign. One added on Friday afternoon that employees were updating their resumes openly in the Newsweek office.
The resignations by the four women followed the reinstatement of Dayan Candappa, Newsweek Media Group’s chief content officer, who had been placed on leave following reports that he had been fired for sexual harassment at a previous job. Leiann Kaytmaz, the company’s vice president of HR, told staff in an email on Friday that Candappa was returning to work after a “thorough investigation” by an outside law firm.
Newsweek Media Group has yet to respond to my request for comment. I’ll update this post if and when they do.