There is a point in a baby’s development when the infant inevitably realizes that the volume and timbre of their voice can noticeably affect surrounding people, that shrieks cause wincing and sometimes earn them attention. This realization is both necessary for babies and horrible for adults. But perhaps more horrible for adults is a grown man in charge of a giant media company who does not seem to realize that the words escaping his mouth can affect the experiences of his employees.
Case in point: It took a New York Times report for Hearst Media president Troy Young to realize that no one wants to listen to him talk about his dick at work. The Times piece, published yesterday, alleges that Young implied his dong was too big for some sex toys sent to Cosmo and at a company holiday party suggested a woman employee should have “inserted her fingers into herself and asked her date if he liked her smell” as she recounted a bad dating experience to co-workers.
Today, Young has sort of apologized in a letter to employees, writing “I always bring my full self—for better or worse—balancing being both demanding and compassionate, and being both real and professional. In doing so, I have lacked an awareness that, in my role, is critical. The words I say can have an outsized impact. Impact that does not match my intent.”
To Young—whose letter concludes with an assurance that he is on a “constant journey of self-improvement” and that he “is listening”—and to any other men considering talking about their dicks at work in an attempt to be their “full selves,” may I offer a bit of career advice: Shut up. Just shut the fuck up. Like a screaming baby at a restaurant, nobody but your mom or whatever person you’ve roped into caretaking duties gives a shit about your attempts to self-actualize through the power of dong jokes. We don’t want to listen and wish you would stop talking forever.
Update, 6:20 p.m.: Troy Young has reportedly resigned.