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Bleacher Report CEO Howard Mittman Exits After After Outcry Over Staff Diversity

Turner Sports head Lenny Daniels will take over in the interim

Howard Mittman resigned as CEO of WarnerMedia’s sports news site Bleacher Report on Tuesday amid internal dissension over the diversity of the staff, the company announced. Turner Sports head Lenny Daniels has been named to run the site on an interim basis.

“It’s become clear to me that significant change needs to occur now,” Daniels said in a staff memo obtained by the Washington Post. He added that changes to the site had been in the works, but that “based on the many conversations I’ve had with B/R colleagues over the past few weeks, candidly, it’s accelerated the timeline. It’s become clear to me that significant change needs to occur now.”

A rep for Turner Sports didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Content executive Brian Graham tweeted on Tuesday he, too, was leaving. “Earlier this morning I tendered my resignation from Bleacher Report effective immediately after 5 years at the company. Specifically, I cited an obvious crisis of leadership that was never more visible than it was in the past 6 weeks,” he wrote. “I don’t know that my departure and the leadership change were related. My intent was not that,” he went on. “My intent was to disassociate myself from a company that has undervalued thoughtful, forward-thinking black employees for quite some time – particularly those in leadership.”

The exits came after two virtual staff meetings in the last few weeks to address the underrepresentation of nonwhite employees in leadership positions and other issues, according to the New York Daily News.

Other media companies have seen their top executives step down amid calls for more diverse staffing and better editorial representation and sensitivity. Christine Barberich, global editor-in-chief and co-founder of Refinery29, stepped down from her role earlier this month to “help diversify” the company’s leadership. Leandra Medine Cohen, founder of the fashion blog Man Repeller, also stepped “back” from her role after criticism of her company’s response to the national conversation around systemic racism.

Bon Appétit offered a “long-overdue apology” two weeks ago, just after Adam Rapoport resigned as editor in chief following the resurfacing of a photo of him in brownface.