The fallout around “Reply All,” Gimlet Media’s most popular podcast, continues, as the show is formally being put on hold after former employees came out publicly with accusations of a negative workplace culture.
In an audio statement put out first thing Thursday morning, Alex Goldman, one of the show’s hosts, said “Reply All” was being put “on pause” given the recent “reckoning” that’s taken place around the show over accusations by former staffers. Such accusations were prompted by “Reply All”‘s most recent series looking into the alleged toxic and racist workplace culture at food magazine Bon Appetit, part of Condé Nast, where employees of color have claimed to struggle. While that series was meant to be four parts, only two have aired and Goldman said the final two will not be published.
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“We now understand we should have never published this series,” Goldman said. He added that it being published at all was a “systemic editorial failure” and apologized to listeners of the show. He also apologized to the people who were interviewed for the “Test Kitchen” series.
The two episodes of “Test Kitchen” that have already aired will stay up, as Goldman said “Reply All” does not “want to bury our failure,” but they will have a disclaimer. This decision is said to be the result of “Reply All” staff meetings with Lydia Polgreen, managing director director of Gimlet, who came to the company after three years as editor in chief of HuffPost.
“We plan to find out what went wrong here,” Goldman added.
Founding host PJ Vogt and Sruthi Pinnamaneni, a reporter for the show and an additional host, are still no longer with the show, as WWD reported, but both are said to still be employed by Gimlet and likely working on other projects in the future.
The fallout around the show, produced by Gimlet, which was acquired by Spotify, started last week when the second episode of “Test Kitchen” aired. While the episodes were largely praised in media circles, Eric Eddings, a former Gimlet producer, took the wind out of the show explaining in a lengthy Twitter thread his own negative experience at Gimlet and with “Reply All” hosts, specifically.
Eddings wrote that listening to the Bon Appétit episodes he felt “gaslit,” considering the previous actions of Vogt and Pinnamaneni toward him and other Gimlet employees involved in an acrimonious union drive, saying they created “a nearly identical toxic dynamic” to that described by Bon Appétit workers.
“The BA staffers’ stories deserve to be told, but to me it’s damaging to have that reporting and storytelling come from two people who have actively and aggressively worked against multiple efforts to diversify Gimlet’s staff and content,” Eddings wrote.
He noted the power of “Reply All” within Gimlet, as it’s the company’s biggest show, but given the hosts’ close ties to management, they found out about the union effort and were not happy about it. So the “Reply All” hosts allegedly proceeded to use their influence “as a cudgel against our efforts at voluntary recognition,” Eddings said, holding anti-union meetings and sending purportedly “harassing messages” to those on the union’s organizing committee.
Eddings said he attempted to speak with Vogt directly about diversity issues at Gimlet and his own experiences as an employee of color, including an instance when someone in senior leadership told him he seemed “too angry” for the company to work with him on diversity issues. Eddings said Vogt “didn’t comment on the diversity part, but made sure to tell me I had in fact seemed angry.”
Eddings’ thread essentially went viral within media on Twitter. Many other people, some of whom worked at Gimlet and some other people of color who work in media or podcasting, replied and posted either verification of Eddings’ claims or made their own.
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