EW Top Editor JD Heyman Axed After Complaints of ‘Inappropriate,’ ‘Racially Insensitive’ Comments (Exclusive)

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At least eight senior staffers lodged complaints with human resources at EW parent Meredith

JD Heyman
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JD Heyman was ousted as the top editor at Meredith’s Entertainment Weekly on Monday after multiple senior staffers filed complaints with the company’s human resources department accusing Heyman of creating a hostile workplace by belittling staffers and making “inappropriate” and “racially insensitive” comments, TheWrap has learned. According to several individuals with knowledge of the events, at least eight senior EW employees banded together to file complaints over the last several months and several documented their case with emails as well as recordings. Multiple EW staffers declined to comment on the specific nature of the accusations against Heyman — though one described some of his comments as “racially insensitive” but not outright racist. Tensions had been building at EW for some time. A former Meredith employee who worked with Heyman told TheWrap that Heyman’s blunt management style created an immediate “culture clash” from the moment he took over as EW’s editor in chief in June 2019 from beloved longtime editor Henry Goldblatt. The individual said the staff felt “whiplash” from Heyman’s “cynical” demeanor following Goldblatt’s more “earnest” approach. A spokesperson for Meredith told TheWrap the company had “nothing to add” beyond its Monday statement that it had “parted ways, effective immediately” with Heyman, who took over the magazine and its website as it shifted to monthly print publication. Heyman did not immediately respond to requests for comment. For now, EW deputy editor Tim Leong and Alex Brez, EW’s director of editorial operations for entertainment and style, will oversee editorial operations until a new top editor is named. Heyman had previously worked as deputy editor at People Magazine, another Time Inc. publication that Meredith acquired in a $2.8 billion deal completed in early 2018. In its statement Monday, the company said, “Meredith thanks JD for his contributions to the EW and People brands over his many years of service.” Entertainment Weekly, which launched in 1990, struggled in its early years before turning a profit in 1996. According to the New York Post, the publication produced annual profits of $50 million during its peak years in the 2000s. With the rise of the internet, EW has seen a steady decline in advertising and revenue that has led to waves of layoffs and the reduction in the number of print issues.        

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