Troy Young, Head of Hearst Magazines, Is Allegedly Unable to Shut Up About His Dong at Work

Illustration for article titled Troy Young, Head of Hearst Magazines, Is Allegedly Unable to Shut Up About His Dong at Work
Image: Bryan Bedder (Getty Images)

This summer has been a maelstrom of fresh accusations against powerful bosses, echoing the rise of MeToo in 2017. And unfortunately, these allegations of workplace abuse, harassment, and discrimination have begun to take on an all-too-familiar pattern—workers, particularly workers of color, report being tokenized in organizations with unyielding glass ceilings while simultaneously being overworked and subjected to harassing comments and behaviors. If the boss is male, those shitty working conditions generally include unwanted sexual conversation and uncomfortable references to the boss’s dick.

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Troy Young, Hearst Magazines president, is the latest boss to face allegations of inappropriate sexual comments in a workplace setting. According to two witnesses speaking to the New York Times, Young asked to keep a sex toy that had been sent to Cosmopolitan magazine but worried he would “definitely need the bigger one” in reference to the holes in two others, ostensibly because his alleged penis is allegedly too big to fit inside them.

In another instance, a woman at Cosmopolitan’s holiday party says she was talking about a bad date where the man she was seeing complained about his ex’s smell. “Mr. Young told her that she should have inserted her fingers into herself and asked her date if he liked her smell,” according to the Times. Other sources told the Times that Young had emailed pornography to former Esquire editor Jay Fielden.

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In response to the allegations regarding the holiday party, Young said in a statement, “Candid conversations about sex defined the Cosmo brand for decades, and those who worked there discussed it openly.”

These allegations come on the heels of other allegations from women of color who worked at Cosmopolitan and Marie Claire. Former employees, including Jazmin Jones and former Jezebel reporter Prachi Gupta, say that they felt marginalized while working at the women’s outlets, saying that women of color were disparaged over their hair and makeup and faced pay discrimination, among other forms of discrimination.

In response to the myriad of allegations facing Hearst and Cosmopolitan, the magazine has created an initiative called “Cosmo Can Do Better” with the intention of hiring more BIPOC. And last month Hearst named Samira Nasr top editor at Harper’s Bazaar, the first woman of color to take the position. It remains to be seen what the company will do about all the dicks and unwanted conversation around them in their offices.

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DISCUSSION

Young’s response to the article was legitimately one of the most bafflingly bad responses I’ve read, which is even more confusing as there is an existing basic outline for it. To those who did not read the NYT article, his response is below:

“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.”

So let’s count all the ways this response utterly fails: 1) Why the need to start with specific allegations? Are there other allegations than these that would then be true? 2) Detractors. Yes, he legitimately referred to the people who complained about his behaviour as detractors. WTH? 3) Okay, at least he got the denial out of- Wait, why is he talking about the pace of their evolving business? 4) What does ‘Strength of my committment is ambitious’ even fucking mean and why is it mentioned in a statement refuting claims of inappropriate behaviour? 5) Not a single mention how seriously he takes these kinds of allegations, probably the pace of the business was too fast for him to write such things.

I- Seriously, if this is the kind of a statement the president of a publishing company is allowed to put out indicates that they have such huge issues that the NYT article barely scratched the surface.