GQ Article Criticizing David Zaslav Toned Down, Then Pulled From Site Entirely

“I wrote what I felt was the story I was hired to write,” freelance film critic Jason Bailey says

David Zaslav, President and CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, attends the Los Angeles premiere of Warner Bros. "The Flash" at Ovation Hollywood on June 12, 2023 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images)
David Zaslav, President and CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery (Phillip Faraone/Getty Images)

GQ took down an article about David Zaslav published Monday after extensive edits were made to the piece.

Freelance film critic Jason Bailey wrote the piece and agreed to the story’s removal. In it, he did not hold back from criticizing the Warner Bros. Discovery CEO about his moves with the company’s entertainment properties, such as cuts made at Turner Classic Movies as well as the unreleased “Batgirl” film.

Titled “How Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav Became Public Enemy Number One in Hollywood,” the piece went through edits shortly after it was published, cutting lines that compared Zaslav to Richard Gere’s businessman character in “Pretty Woman,” “Succession” patriarch Logan Roy and called him “the most hated man in Hollywood.”

“I wrote what I felt was the story I was hired to write,” Bailey said, according to The Washington Post. “When I was asked to rewrite it after publication, I declined. The rewrite that was done was not to my satisfaction, so I asked to have my name removed and was told that the option there was to pull the article entirely, and I was fine with that.”

GQ editor-in-chief Will Welch, who is a producer for an upcoming Warner Bros. film, “The Great Chinese Art Heist,” based on a 2018 article by the outlet, played a role in the story’s edits and removal from the site, Variety reported, citing unnamed sources. Welch was also one of two editors who initially heard from Warner Bros. Discovery about their complaints, according to Variety. 

A spokesman for Warner Bros. Discovery described the complaint made by the company to GQ as stemming from Bailey’s not asking the conglomerate for comment before publishing the piece. Bailey confirmed that he did not request a comment, but he disagreed with Warner Bros. Discovery’s claim that his article contained “numerous inaccuracies.”

“I think a side-by-side comparison of the piece before and after GQ’s internal edits reveals exactly what WBD wanted changed, and that GQ was happy to do so,” Bailey wrote in an email to The Post.

A GQ spokesperson also released a statement about the article, edited and original versions of which have been archived online.

“After a revision was published, the writer of the piece asked to have their byline removed, at which point GQ decided to unpublish the piece in question,” the statement read. “GQ regrets the editorial error that [led] to a story being published before it was ready.”