Jezebel editor-in-chief Laura Bassett has exited the company over poor working conditions for its editorial staff.
“I guess the cat’s out of the bag. I have reluctantly resigned from Jezebel, because the company that owned us refused to treat my staff with basic human decency,” Laura Bassett said in a Twitter post on Monday. “I will love and support my writers til the end and am so grateful I got to shepherd this site through the end of Roe.”
Per previous reporting, Bassett’s decision to leave was due to strained relations with CEO Jim Spanfeller of parent company G/O Media. Bassett is now the seventh EIC among G/O’s 10 websites to have left, joining Eric Barrow, who left Deadspin in December 2022; Vanessa K. De Luca, who left The Root in April 2023; Bob Sorokanich, who left Jalopnik in April 2023; Zach Seward, who left Quartz in May 2023 and Patricia Hernandez, who left Kotaku on Tuesday.
One of the largest issues causing strife between staff and management at G/O Media involves repeated attempts to put AI-generated content on the company’s various websites — particularly as the company keeps laying staff off.
In June, the G/O Media union condemned these actions. “Introducing computer-generated garbage undermines our ability to do our jobs, erodes trust in us as journalists, damages our brands, and threatens our jobs,” the union said in part.
But it’s far from the only cause of tension at the company, formed when private equity firm Great Hill Partners acquired the website, previously part of the Gawker, then Gizmodo family of publications, in 2019. The company has been accused of meddling in staffing and editorial decisions, often even mandating content policies that contradict traffic data and readership trends.
For instance, in Octtober 2019, G/O bosses ordered sports-focused website Deadspin to stop covering political topics and “stick to sports,” this despite the fact that topics related to politics were by far the site’s biggest drivers of traffic. The entire editorial and writing staff resigned in protest, and the site stopped publishing new articles for nearly four months.
When new articles began being published in 2020, Deadspin was barely able to match 10% of the traffic it used to generate.
TheWrap has reached out to G/O Media and Laura Bassett for request for comment.