Deadline President Stacey Farish Exits Amid Exodus of Top Reports, Hostile Work Environment | Exclusive

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The PMC trade’s publisher and a sales executive are in talks to leave as pressure turned toxic on the team after missed sales goals, declining traffic

stacey farish deadline
Stacey Farish at Deadline And Awardsline Awards Season Kick Off Party on Sept. 18, 2013 in West Hollywood. (Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Deadline)

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Deadline president Stacey Farish exited the company on Friday after a series of accusations that she has created a hostile work environment, and as her top deputy is on leave, multiple individuals with knowledge told TheWrap.

Kasey Champion, Deadline’s publisher who reports to Farish, went on leave earlier this week, TheWrap has learned. That’s a dilemma for PMC as Champion is considered the top choice to replace Farish.

“It feels very dramatic, I’m sure they’re scrambling,” an industry insider who deals directly with Deadline’s sales team told TheWrap. “There’s nobody else there who could take over.”

Additionally, VP of entertainment sales London Blue Sanders unexpectedly resigned on Monday. An individual with knowledge told TheWrap that PMC is in talks with her to stay.

From left, Kasey Champion, Stacey Farish and London Blue Sanders in Cannes on May 20, 2022. (Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Deadline Hollywood)

Representatives for PMC, Farish and Blue Sanders didn’t immediately respond to TheWrap’s requests for comment. Champion declined to comment for this article.

Farish has a reputation for a fierce and aggressive management style both internally and in building Deadline’s advertising business. Multiple individuals told TheWrap that at least three other sales executives have either been transferred internally or threatened legal action over the past several years.

According to two individuals, Champion had complained to PMC CEO Jay Penske that she could no longer tolerate Farish’s verbal abuse. Blue Sanders had also complained about Farish’s management style. Champion said she would be taking leave for a month and sent a legal letter about her concerns, according to one individual with knowledge. Penske called Farish on Friday to deliver the news that she needed to separate from the company. Farish’s key cards were deactivated by the end of the day, according to the individual.

“We all know something happened, something sizable,” a second individual with knowledge told TheWrap of Farish’s exit. “Someone of that level to leave — look at the timing, it’s a busy time.”

The mass exodus of Deadline’s sales team comes at a critical juncture for trade publications, as Emmy season sales are at their height.

As TheWrap had previously reported, ad sales have been dramatically down. Deadline’s traffic was also down 4% in unique viewers and 19% in total page views in June, according to Comscore. In recent weeks, Penske has initiated layoffs across its media publications, including The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Billboard and IndieWire.

Staffers were dismayed that Penske chose to make no announcement of Farish’s departure.

Sharon Waxman contributed to this article.