Hearst chief Troy Young is the latest casualty in the cleansing of American boardrooms and media C-suites. A New York Times exposé detailed a “toxic environment” in the upper floors of the Hearst Tower, where Young allegedly made “lewd, sexist remarks at work.” It’s a short 20-minute, 15-block walk from the NYT to Hearst, and the current media purge has affected both companies.
While the Times is embroiled in a Jacobin-led revolution bent on dogmatic purity, Hearst suffered the same fate as White Man led organizations like Pixar, where John Lasseter was forced out by allegations of “grabbing, kissing, making comments about physical attributes.” You know, the kind of stuff Donald Trump said (and did) publicly his whole life. Or the kind of ear-blowing, hair sniffing his political opponent Joe Biden is known for.
Young’s biggest problem isn’t just that he made sexual or bawdry remarks at work (though emailing pornography is generally a no-no in the HR policy manual). It’s that he is also, apparently, a class A jerk. The article paints a picture of someone who loved to climb the corporate ladder, stepping on faces and fingers on the way up without looking at the possibility of passing them again on the way down.
His response to the Times, which contacted him for comment before publishing the piece?
Mr. Young, 52, addressed the former Hearst employees’ complaints in a statement for this article: “Specific allegations raised by my detractors are either untrue, greatly exaggerated or taken out of context. The pace of evolving our business and the strength of my commitment is ambitious, and I sincerely regret the toll it has taken on some in our organization.”
My God. The part of Young’s lizard brain where “contrition” and “oh snap!” should live must have atrophied to a single oxygen starved capillary. “The strength of my commitment” is about the worst phrase any CEO facing these kinds of career-ending allegations should use, especially in today’s environment where a tweet from 10 years earlier will get you canceled.
Even worse, he had his corporate lackeys say the same thing:
A Hearst Magazines spokeswoman said that, during Mr. Young’s years as digital chief, his “relentless pursuit of excellence was at times combined with a brash demeanor that rubbed some the wrong way.” The spokeswoman added, “Since being named president of the division, he has worked to develop a more inclusive management style.”
“Mister Young is a practiced and inveterate putz, and he is proud of that legacy, because it has made him rich and powerful at the expense of lesser human beings” would have been a more accurate take.
Even worse, if that’s possible, is that a Black (capitalized per the NYT style guide) video editor named Jazmin Jones alleged that Jessica Pels, Cosmopolitan’s top editor, fostered “a culture of discrimination.” Cosmo, that magazine the NYT’s editorial department writers aspire to be (to the point of ousting their own management), is a bastion of racism?
Prachi Gupta, who covered politics for the Cosmopolitan site during the 2016 presidential campaign, before Ms. Pels became editor, said she felt that Black and brown women were made to “feel less than equal” at the company.
“Because there were no women of color in leadership positions, I was not able to seek advice or counsel when I was pushed into some of the uncomfortable positions,” she said.
Under Young, an Esquire story about Bryan Singer’s pedophilia was squashed by Hearst, and ultimately published by The Atlantic. Journalists Alex French and Maximillian Potter work for Esquire. Potter remained flummoxed about the decision.
“I genuinely, wholeheartedly believe, if I got hit by a bus tomorrow, and had to talk to the Big Guy, and he asked me, ‘Hey, do you know why they killed this piece?,’ I’d say, ‘No.’”How Esquire lost the Bryan Singer story, Columbia Journalism Review, February 22, 2019
I wouldn’t dare imply that Young was somehow linked to Singer or Singer’s alleged crimes. But that was the kind of organization Young ran. As much sex, un-PC talk, and aggressive business boardroom antics as any Manhattan-based media empire could muster. He did well to keep up with NBC’s Matt Lauer, never mind Harvey Weinstein (or God forbid, Jeff Epstein).
There’s a theme running through many of these high-powered falls from grace. Not the ones at the NYT, mind you, those are purely doctrinal, in that anyone who doesn’t groupthink in their Borg collective is ejected. I’m talking about the fast-moving media mastheads run by hard-charging executives. People like Adam Rapoport from Bon Appétit, which typifies the “‘systematic racism’ that ‘runs rampant’ at Bon Appétit publisher Condé Nast” according to the magazine’s assistant food editor Sohla El-Waylly, are to be removed.
In progressive media culture, success means you can’t afford to be gracious, or sensitive, or politically correct, except, of course, in public appearances. But now, being insufficiently woke is enough to get you ousted too. And the very “qualities” that propelled these men to the top of well-known media icons are now the flaws that caused them all to fall.
One remaining boardroom bastions of this “systemic racism” and failure to live by the principles they publish is, apparently, Silicon Valley and its kissing cousin Seattle. You won’t likely find anyone pushing too hard to upend it though–of course the fact Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post could explain a lot.
Another, is politics, where Gov. Ralph Northam can escape unharmed from the same circumstance that got Rapoport canned. Where our president can boast “grab them by the p**sy” and people laugh it off, and where his political opponent Joe Biden can have decades of inappropriate touching, and an allegation of “digital penetration” and you can still hear the crickets chirping.
It seems the message here isn’t that we need better people at the helm of big media, tech, and politics. It’s that if you seek power, make sure you get enough that you become untouchable. If not, the purge is soon coming for you.