During an internal sales summit meeting in New York on June 19, sales execs practiced pitching G/O Medias general presentation, a deck of about 15 slides that tells clients why they should do business with the company. I told Mike, verbally and in writing, that I would be interested in taking on new responsibilities and opportunities within the organization and I would like to interview for whatever position would be a part of that, she told Deadspin. A week after Spanfeller insisted to Variety that he did "not plan to cut our way to growth," the CEO fired 25 employees, including in top positions, such as axing former Gizmodo Media Group. Spanfeller also said that he did not ask Katie to fire Susie, only to be in the room while I had the conversation about Susies future with the company., Spanfeller ended up firing Banikarim himself, and then, months later, hiring Angela Persaud for the chief talent officer job after a public search. He is currently the CEO of G/O Media which consists primarily of sites that were previously part of Gawker Media. This is normal in situations like these where a new group is coming in and is facing a near term challenge.. This former staffer said the team wished to add Black creatives to help create more representative branded content to meet the demand, but it was not given additional resources. Im shocked he would call that a good presentation, said the employee who was in the meeting. Then, Thursday night, after Bernie Sanders tweeted in support of Deadspin, supporter collective People for Bernie tweeted the post at its new URL: After which, sometime today, the post disappeared, only to be replaced by this: Its not entirely clear which of Kinjas guidelines were violated, particularly considering that theres no agreed upon definition of what constitutes a herb. It is also worth noting that multiple internal candidates have expressed interest in the position of EIC of the A/V Club. The Onion union declined to comment, but a source with knowledge of the situation disputed that the union demanded promotions, saying its letter demanded action and used the words We ask for the following when addressing promotions. He started screaming at me, Who told you you were allowed to speak about audience? It was a welcome refrain for employees all too aware of how the company had languished under Univisions doomed ownership. The anger stems from Spanfellers apparent disregard for his own stated company values, which include a commitment to diversity and inclusion. The Onion Union, which represents AV Club staffers, told Insider in a statement that it hoped "this period of prosperity creates tangible benefits for all of our members especially those whose jobs are being moved to Los Angeles, one of the most expensive cities in the world.". While Carmichael was on a plane to Paris, I discovered that G/O had changed her accounts URL from emma.kinja.com to lajskhclsahkchkad.kinja.com, while going to emma.kinja.com now redirects to the new URL, at the time of the change, it simply showed a broken page. Spanfeller accused writers and editors of acting in bad faith based on a list of questions submitted to him before publication and the fact that a draft of the article had been sent for legal. A longtime digital media veteran, Spanfeller was an unconventional choice to lead the new Gizmodo Media Group sites (The Daily Beast's CEO, Heather Dietrick, once served as president of the . Amid the chaos, someone edited Spanfeller's Wikipedia entry to read, "Jim Spanfeller is a fart-faced fascist best known for running Forbes.com from 2001-2009." (That language has since . Made up mostly of the former Gawker Media sites, G/O Media has been in a near constant state of turmoil for the past few years. (The other woman on the executive leadership team, general counsel Lynn Oberlander, left the company this week.) He also claimed to have hired four women for major roles though, one of these jobs has not been filled yet, as Spanfeller instead claims he plans to give it to a woman. Like many media companies, G/O Media's advertising business was battered by the pandemic. When asked if she stood by the content of the since-disappeared post, Carmichael remained steadfast: I did really careful, thorough research, and the evidence is there. The former staff of Splinter later launched the worker-owned Discourse Blog. These actions are clearly management attempting to target, and even intimidate, staff into changing their editorial stance in spite of our contract-protected independence, especially as it comes on the heels of managements repeated attempts to kill this story as it was being reported about the company. Both lawsuits detail discrimination personally faced or witnessed by the plaintiffs from Jim Spanfeller, who became CEO of G/O Media in April after private equity firm Great Hill acquired Gizmodo Media Group. "We closed Splinter because it was a liberal political site that was losing audience in the middle of a liberal moment," he said. These men, and others who now hold C-suite positions at the company, were each hired without a public recruitment process, and several were installed over high-ranking women who had been successfully performing those jobs at the company for years. Several high-ranking employees have left the company over the past three months, departments have been stretched thin, and those who remain say that Spanfellers micromanaging and inappropriate interference has hamstrung their ability to effectively do their jobs. Spanfellers executive assistant set up a time for us to meet. It wasn't Great Hill's first foray into the media business it had previously invested in IGN and sold Ziff Davis but the G/O deal was a tiny one for a firm that describes itself as "targeting investments of $25 million to $500 million.".  In June 1993, Spanfeller became associate publisher for advertising at Inc. magazine, replacing Kristin Norrgard, who left to become publisher of Working Woman magazine. I was unclear about what she did. Multiple sources say Pontius declined to go along with the plan, angering Spanfeller. When confronted with this negative feedback, Spanfeller insisted that he cannot be sexist because he has daughters. Or knowledgeable writers?, Asked about the survey, Rogers said he thinks its responses will accurately and fully reflect Deadspin readers opinions of the site. "We want to do it in a way that's a little more buttoned up," he said. Spanfeller was hired by private equity firm Great Hill Partners to run the company after it was purchased from Univision. It became clear that she was not a good fit for this position and we both agreed on this. ), This isnt the first time Spanfeller has been accused of micromanaging. I am a father of three wonderful woman. On July 30, the day after I emailed reporting questions to Spanfeller, Maidment, Rogers, Jesse Knight, and Sean Flanagan, Spanfeller sent a company-wide email under the subject line Reporting on Ourselves; Deadspin Reporting On The Company and Our Executives. In the email, excerpts of which were published by media reporters from the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, Spanfeller voiced his opinion on how coverage of the company should work: I believe the solution is to have that reporting reviewed by an impartial outside editor a Public Editor, if you will  and not just for these situations but for any situation where someone within or without the company has issues with our coverage or reporting. Email us. Announcing Persauds hire on July 10, Spanfeller wrote this of the process: After a very fulsome search where we interviewed dozens of qualified candidates we identified two finalists. in English Literature in 1979 and went to work as a reporter for the SoHo Weekly News. A voter's representatives in government. The digital media and blogging network, which oversees websites like Deadspin, Gizmodo, Jezebel, A.V. That said, I and the management team received a list of questions from the reporter working this story for Deadspin and those questions left me greatly concerned about the objectivity and core intentions of this piece. This has led to some protest among employees, as one staffer told Deadspin, It definitely feels like its the old boys club. A second employee told the site, This guy just seems like he doesnt like women.. According to multiple sources inside the company, the post even joined the leading posts from official G/O sites on the big board, a large screen in the companys New York headquarters that displays that moments most highly trafficked storiesan unusual feat for a user-generated post. Im not building a club, we are working to build a successful companyand that depends on great women and men.. While G/O Media has often placed importance on diversity among their staff and in their coverage, these executive-level jobs went to white males. Who even told you you were allowed to think about audience?, My management was straight-up scared of him, said a staffer who worked at the site for two years and had responsibilities on both the editorial and marketing sides of the company. The JW Player was an interim step, Spanfeller said. A source at the company familiar with the situation said Thompsons hire had been flagged to upper management as a potential problem. 15 Life Hacks That Are Actually Pretty Good 17,580. These two highly talented HR executives then met with a number of people around our company including representatives of the unions., When asked why Spanfeller didnt follow this thorough search process before filling seven key positions with his former coworkers, he blamed his hiring practices on the financial shape of the company. Mike hired Steve, and Steve hired Lance after conducting a process around each hire. Great Hill Partners vice president Eric Ahlgren and managing partner Chris Gaffney did not respond to Deadspins emailed questions. In other words, G/O media had effectively broken the redirect at Deadspin2.com, so that the site now redirected to a dead link. "We remain optimistic that our labor will be taken into consideration as this period of financial promise collides with a time that has been particularly rough on morale," the Onion Union statement said. , Spanfeller ran Forbes.com for 8 years from 2001 to 2009, when digital and print operations were run separately.  In January 2020 the GMG union, which represents the staff of G/O media, announced a vote of no confidence in CEO Jim Spanfeller citing, among other issues, a lack of willingness to negotiate for "functional editorial independence protections. He previously served as President & Chief Executive Officer of Forbes.com, a leading media Internet company, and as Executive Vice President . Club executive editor Laura M. Browning and former A.V. According to Dave Reibstein, past chairman of the Board of Directors of the American Marketing Association and a professor of marketing at University of Pennsylvanias Wharton School of Business (where he teaches a course on market research), there are several problems with the survey. Computing. John Taggart for The Washington Post via Getty Images, NOW WATCH: WATCH: How advertisers can navigate the death of third-party cookies, according to execs from Mars Petcare, R/GA, The Washington Post, and The Trade Desk, Clashes between the Gawker Media editorial culture. It has introduced real uncertainty in to stocks, and Trump's agenda has become shaky. We shall have a discussion on the policy at the next EiCs leads meeting. In a follow-up meeting with Spanfeller about the story, she suggested that hard financial data might not be their audiences central interest. Hes trying to micromanage, the tech employee said last week. In 1964, Spanfeller recieved the title of Artist of the Year from the Artists Guild of New York. One theory was that Spanfeller thought implementing analytics would take developer resources away from building the new video platform and player, though employees said implementing analytics is a relatively easy fix. While we were given a 3pm deadline today to respond to dozens of questions, I understand that the folks at Deadspin have already submitted their story for legal review and plan to publish it on Wednesday all without ever seeing any of the responses to the questions that they asked. Two are now successfully navigating careers in the digital advertising space. They cant even pitch effectively, said another employee who was present. Youre not qualified. Spanfeller said he would go into negotiations "with an open mind and good faith," but a former executive at the company predicted conflict at the negotiating table between the union and the CEO, given their view of Spanfeller's heavy-handed leadership style. The survey on Deadspin, however, had some serious issues, he said. Lastly, I firmly believe, personally, that Jim Spanfeller is a herb. The detection of possible errors in a person's voter record as well as instructions on how to update it. He said the company was just profitable before the pandemic hit its business, and is now comfortably back in the black. Spanfeller did offer to promote one female employee, former chief of staff for The Onion Katie Pontius, and make her the companys head of talent, but the position fell through after he demanded that she fire newsroom editorial director Susie Banikarimas her first management move, which Pontius refused, according to sources who spoke to Deadspin. Another was more direct: Thats Jim wanting to be in control. Editorial director Paul Maidment, who worked with Spanfeller at Forbes and The Daily Meal. Justice announced he was switching his party affiliation . Jeremy Gordon Oct292019 03:41PM EST. I hired Katie who accepted the job, he wrote. Page 1 of 9,554,641. But before a formal interview process could take place, Spanfeller filled the jobs with his ex-colleagues. When I followed up about the meeting the next day with Spanfeller, I was told it was canceled. Successfully sold . It wasnt collaborative.. In addition to clichs like we are ambitious and be passionate and have fun, the fifth value on the list said, We will be at our best when we embrace many different perspectives and experiences. . Steve Riley on February 14, 2013: Just right off the bat. But after the staff meeting, sources say, members of the tech team held a meeting with Knight to explain why the date was unrealistic. Below are some of the biggest revelations outlined in Deadspins roughly 7,000 word report on their parent company and its new management, which they spoke to nearly two dozen G/O Media employees for. In addition to the annoying ads, G/O Media CEO Jim Spanfeller also wants Kotaku to only write about video games. I was sorry and that is accurate, he said. One of the former staffers said that as companies sought to double down on diversity and inclusion during the summer of 2020, the branded content team received incoming requests from companies hoping to fund content for The Root, G/O Media's Black news publication.