Following a Jezebel report in which former employees of The Fader accused the music magazine of cultivating a culture of regular harassment—including knowingly hiring head of content Eric Sundermann, despite multiple allegations of sexual harassment and assault in his previous roles—The Fader has announced its decision to part ways with president and publisher Andy Cohn.
In a staff-wide email shared with Jezebel, The Fader co-founder Jon Cohen wrote that the magazine will make “some real changes in how this company runs in order to achieve our goals,” set into motion by a recent internal investigation reviewing internal emails and interviewing current and former staff. The first of those changes is the departure of Andy Cohn after 16 years with the magazine. The email simply said Cohn was “leaving” the magazine and announced that the “executive team” would be taking charge of management and operations in Cohn’s stead, though it did not specifically specify who would be in charge, or the reason for his resignation.
Cohn’s departure comes after weeks of turmoil at The Fader. As multiple current and former employees who wish to remain anonymous told Jezebel, several Fader staffers resigned following the initial report; others chose to avoid the office after a series of tense meetings with management.
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In addition to allegations that Cohn overlooked abuse, multiple employees recall an instance of overt harassment. As Jezebel initially reported, one former employee alleged that in 2011, Cohn had attempted to remove his pants in front of staff at the CMJ music festival. When a staffer complained to the company’s chief financial officer, who at the time also acted as its HR representative, the disclosure resulted in retribution, the employee said. Jon Cohen’s email said the company would now be working to improve HR in order to encourage employees to report misconduct.
Jezebel also found that prior to hiring Eric Sundermann, who left the magazine in early November, multiple employees warned Cohn, among others in charge, of an investigation into Sundermann’s sexual misconduct while he was the editor-in-chief of Noisey, Vice’s music site. The Fader says it will now hire outside consultants to vet potential job candidates. In addition, The Fader says it will also implement diversity training to all staff and require managers to complete communications training.
Jezebel has reached out to The Fader for comment and will update with any new information.