Two NYT executives sued for discrimination; Harris Publications shuts down abruptly, some titles may live on
Morning Brief: CEO Mark Thompson and CRO Meredith Levien were named in a lawsuit claiming that the paper engages in discriminatory staffing policies in an effort to attract ‘young, white, wealthy’ readers
The chief executive Mark Thompson and chief revenue officer Meredith Levien of The New York Times are being sued by two former employees for age discrimination. The two plaintiffs are 62-year-old Ernestine Grant and 61-year-old Marjorie Walker say Times management practices age, sex and race discrimination in an effort to develop the “ideal” staff – that is, one that is young, white, and mostly single.
“Unbeknownst to the world at large, not only does the Times have an ideal customer (young, white, wealthy), but also an ideal staffer (young, white, unencumbered with a family) to draw that purported ideal customer,” the Guardian reported the lawsuit stated.
“This lawsuit contains a series of recycled, scurrilous and unjustified attacks on both Mark Thompson and Meredith Levien,” Times’ senior vice president for corporate communications Eileen Murphy told both CNN and the Guardian. “It also completely distorts the realities of the work environment at the New York Times. We strongly disagree with any claim that The Times, Mr. Thompson or Ms. Levien have discriminated against any individual or group of employees. The suit is entirely without merit and we intend to fight it vigorously in court.”
Thompson has been here before when, as head of the BBC, the British broadcasting firm was accused of age discrimation.
“First, that there is an underlying problem, that – whatever the individual success stories – there are manifestly too few older women broadcasting on the BBC, especially in iconic roles and on iconic topical programs,” Thompson told The Daily Mail in 2012. “Second that, as the national broadcaster and one which is paid for by the public, the BBC is in a different class from everyone else, and that the public have every right to expect it to deliver to a higher standard of fairness and open-mindedness in its treatment both of its broadcasters and its audiences.”
At the time Thompson said he hoped this would be a turning point for the BBC. Six months later Thompson was announced as CEO of The New York Times Company.
Folio reported yesterday that NYC-based Harris Publications would be shuttered. The company published a series of gun magazines, as well as enterna
“It is with great sadness that we are announcing the closing of Harris Publications. For nearly 40 years, Harris Publications has been a mainstay in enthusiast publishing,” the company said in a statement.
“The magazine publishing industry has been through turmoil in the face of the rapid ascendance of digital media, changing consumer content preferences, magazine wholesaler struggles and consolidation in the supply chain. We have tried mightily to persevere against these forces, but have been unable to overcome these challenges.”
“There were signs … they were slowly folding titles every week, including Rides, Small Business Magazine, Juicy, the beauty titles, Danny Seo told Keith Kelly of the Post. All 85 positions will be lost, according to Keith.
But… several of the Harris magazine titles may live on.
“After 40 years of publishing Harris Publications has closed their doors,” the editor of Dog News wrote on their Facebook page. “As the original founders of Dog News Matt and Gene intend to continue the publication of Dog News with our entire team. Like you we were taken by surprise by Harris’s decision we will keep updated as to our progress and look forward to our continued relationship.”
“Today, our parent company Harris Publications announced they are ceasing to exist as a publishing company,” Danny Seo wrote on the Facebook page for that magazine. “We want you to know that we intend to keep the magazine “Naturally, Danny Seo” in print and will be announcing a new publishing partner in a few weeks. As we gear up to make the transition, we also want to announce that the magazine will soon be a major network TV show launching this October.”