Podcast Pauses Series On Toxic Workplace After Facing Claims That It Also Fostered A Toxic Workplace

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Screenshot: Gimlet Media (Fair Use)

The popular Gimlet Media podcast “Reply All” is going on a hiatus after a mini-series on last year’s scandal surrounding the racist culture at Bon Appétit led a former employee to reveal that several members of the “Reply All” team had engaged in similarly toxic behavior at Gimlet itself. Two of the “Reply All” team members in question, co-host PJ Vogt and senior reporter Sruthi Pinnamaneni, were accused of “actively and AGGRESSIVELY” working against their colleagues’ efforts to unionize and increase diversity at Gimlet. Since these allegations became public, Pinnamaneni has stepped back from “Reply All,” and Vulture reports that Vogt has permanently left the podcast.

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Although the first two episodes of the “Reply All” Bon Appétit expose “The Test Kitchen” were well-received, public opinion started to shift after Eric Eddings, former co-host of the Gimlet podcast (turned Quibi series) “The Nod”, posted a long Twitter thread detailing the numerous ways that the “Reply All” team members worked to derail efforts to make the workplace more equitable.

In the Twitter thread, Eddings lays out the ways Vogt, Pinnamaneni, and others not only failed to support but actually worked against their coworkers’ efforts to unionize Gimlet—unionizing efforts that Eddings said were largely driven by employees of color who were hoping to create an environment at the company that would allow them to actually succeed. Not only did the two send messages harassing their colleagues who were on the Gimlet union’s organizing committee, Pinnamaneni actually went as far as to host an “anti-union” meeting in an attempt to rally people against the efforts. (Vogt and Pinnamaneni have each shared apologies on Twitter since these accusations were made public.)

Although Pinnamaneni briefly discussed her own journey around the Gimlet unionization drive at the end of the second episode of “The Test Kitchen,” her comments failed to express the intentionality with which she worked against the unionizing efforts. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times last week, Eddings said that he didn’t believe that the people interviewed for “The Test Kitchen” knew enough about the issues at Gimlet Media. “I didn’t feel confident that the sources knew everything that happened before they shared,” Eddings said. “It felt like I had context that people didn’t, and that if I was in their situation — which I was — I would want that context.”

On Thursday, “Reply All” released a short episode entitled “A Message from the Staff of Reply All,” in which co-host Alex Goldman addressed the claims made by Eddings and echoed by other former Gimlet employees, and explained that the podcast was going on a break. “These accounts prompted a reckoning on our team about the work culture at ‘Reply All’ and they left us asking whether we could continue airing the story without interrogating ourselves and what has unfolded at Gimlet,” Goldman said. “We now understand that we should never have published the series as reported, and the fact that we did was a systemic editorial failure.”

“Reply All” will not be publishing the final two episodes of “The Test Kitchen.”

DISCUSSION

By
Snide-O-Mite

I’d love to see a psychological study on why people spearhead efforts to fight a specific problem yet easily go crazy on a tiny bit of power and end up becoming part of the problem.