Technology

Two ‘Reply All’ Hosts Step Down Amid ‘Take a look at Kitchen’ Fallout

Picture: Courtesy of Gimlet

Earlier this month, Reply All kicked off an bold miniseries, “The Take a look at Kitchen,” which sought to tackle one of many greater tales in regards to the media’s reckoning with poisonous office dynamics that came about final summer time: the implosion of Bon Appétit because of scandal.

However shortly after the discharge of its second episode, Reply All appears to be going by means of a reckoning of its personal. On Wednesday night, Gimlet managing director Lydia Polgreen despatched out an inside e mail saying that Sruthi Pinnamaneni, the present’s longtime senior reporter who was main “The Take a look at Kitchen,” was stepping again from the miniseries instantly, whereas P.J. Vogt, Reply All’s founding co-host, had requested to take a depart of absence from the present as a complete.

These developments come after a former staffer, Eric Eddings, published a Twitter thread accusing Pinnamaneni and Vogt particularly of contributing to a “poisonous dynamic at Gimlet” that was “close to similar” to the Bon Appetit tradition depicted within the miniseries. “The BA staffers’ tales should be instructed, however to me it’s damaging to have that reporting and storytelling come from two individuals who have actively and AGGRESSIVELY labored in opposition to a number of efforts to diversify Gimlet’s workers & content material,” Eddings wrote.

The thread went on to put out a collection of allegations in opposition to Pinnamaneni and Vogt, depicting them as having actively labored in opposition to efforts to diversify the corporate’s workers and content material that have been primarily linked to an early office marketing campaign to type a union. That union push came about shortly earlier than Spotify’s acquisition of the corporate in early 2019.

Based on the interior e mail, “The Take a look at Kitchen” was initially meant to be Pinnamaneni’s final story for Reply All earlier than transferring on to different tasks on the firm. It additionally famous that the corporate has plans to debate what comes subsequent for the miniseries. Reply All, one in all Spotify’s greatest podcasts, is predicted to proceed manufacturing.

Spotify has but to supply touch upon the matter; the accusations pertain to a interval that predates its acquisition of Gimlet and the following modifications it has instituted within the firm, together with the hiring of Polgreen, previously the editor-in-chief of HuffPost. Nonetheless, on Wednesday evening, Vogt tweeted out an apology with the announcement that he was briefly stepping again from the present. “I deeply failed as an ally throughout the unionization period at Gimlet,” he wrote. “I didn’t intend to cease the unionization effort, and I’m very glad it succeeded… I’m not achieved working, however I don’t assume anybody wants me taking on area proper now.” Pinnamaneni additionally posted an apology of her own.

Right here’s the total textual content of the e-mail from Polgreen:

Whats up Gimlet,

I wish to start by acknowledging the sophisticated and emotional nature of what has unfolded on social media and in conversations over the past 24 hours. I’ve had direct discussions with these concerned and lots of others of you who’re feeling the impression of this, and I plan to proceed these within the days and weeks forward.

From the second I arrived at Gimlet, it was clear that our tradition wanted work, and that there have been large issues that wanted to alter to make this a greater, extra equitable place. Now we have spent numerous time working to make these modifications in partnership with a lot of you. These occasions are a reminder of how a lot work stays.

PJ has requested to step down from his position on the present and take a depart of absence, and I’ve agreed. It was all the time supposed that this miniseries was to be Sruthi’s final story for Reply All earlier than she moved to different tasks at Gimlet, however as an alternative, she will probably be stepping again from the present instantly. The Reply All workforce and I will probably be discussing the plans for The Take a look at Kitchen within the days forward.

At Gimlet, we make inventive work in collaborative groups. That work is absolutely rewarding and likewise onerous. It includes sincere and typically tough conversations. However these conversations should occur with respect. No particular person at Gimlet or Spotify is simply too vital or highly effective to flee accountability for his or her conduct, very a lot together with me. 

These occasions are additionally a reminder that we’re within the midst of a collective bargaining course of that’s by its nature confrontational. We sit throughout the desk from one another and negotiate. However I do know that the individuals who organized the union are motivated by a need to make Gimlet higher. We could disagree in regards to the specifics of easy methods to obtain that aim, however we’re united in desirous to make Gimlet the perfect place for probably the most bold creators of audio to work. I consider that due to onerous work on either side we now have made numerous progress. 

Now we have numerous work forward of us. Regardless of our latest challenges, I consider that the world wants extra of your distinctive storytelling. We’ll have time to speak about this collectively at our All Employees subsequent week however I’m comfortable to speak earlier than then as effectively.

Lydia

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