Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast/Getty
Welcome to this week’s edition of Confider, the media newsletter that pulls back the curtain to reveal what’s really going on inside the world’s most powerful navel-gazing industry. Subscribe here and send your questions, tips, and complaints here.
EXCLUSIVE — MEDIA #METOO MEN: Summer 2023 has been a busy time for alleged serial sexual harassers hoping to get back into the media spotlight. Confider checked in on some of the most powerful media men felled during #MeToo and learned that some of them have been trying to mount a comeback—with varying degrees of success. Read the full Confider story here.
EXCLUSIVE — THE ‘HERB’ STRIKES BACK: The animosity between G/O Media CEO Jim Spanfeller and the union representing his workers continues to heat up like a fiery summer BBQ. Last week G/O filed a grievance against WGA East for using their social platforms to tell readers not to click on articles that were generated with the use of artificial intelligence and featured on G/O sites, Confider has learned. It’s just the latest flashpoint in rising tensions at the media empire. Last week, Confider exclusively reported how Jezebel editor-in-chief Laura Bassett had quit in protest after not being able to backfill roles or give her writers raises or promotions. Bassett is the seventh EIC in a portfolio of 10 sites to quit G/O over the last eight months. G/O insiders suggested Spanfeller’s grievance may have been in retaliation for internal revelations featured in last week’s Confider—namely that Spanfeller, whom staffers have derisively referred to as a “herb,” had hired his daughter to a G/O sales position and then promoted her within a year. “Such actions constituted an unlawful boycott in violation of their labor agreement,” a G/O spokesperson emailed Confider about the union’s actions. “After G/O Media filed its grievance, the union immediately took down these unlawful social media posts.” A spokesperson for the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE), meanwhile, wrote to Confider: “With the spread of fake and manipulated news, it is essential that people can trust media outlets as reliable sources of information. The Union will always stand with writers committed to protecting and preserving ethical journalism standards.”