Jezebel – inspired by the seductress villain herself – was launched in 2007 by Gawker Media. It was founded by Anna Holmes, a writer from a progressive California college town devoted to "smashing the patriarchy." The magazine's central focus was writing cultural commentary for women from an edgy, liberal feminist angle. They've advocated for polyamory, condemned women who speak out against the harmful effects of birth control, supported men in women's sports, dismissed male victims of domestic abuse, and even wrote misleading articles about Evie Magazine.
Now, after more than 16 years, Jezebel is getting shut down by its owner G/O Media, after failing to find a buyer. G/O Media's editorial director, Merill Brown, is also leaving the company after less than one year as part of their restructuring. The company's restructuring and the cessation of Jezebel will result in the loss of 23 editorial staffers.
Ironically, Jezebel's former editor-in-chief, Laura Bassett, opened up in August 2023 about how the company allegedly mistreated her. She resigned from her position. Bassett wrote on X, “I have reluctantly resigned from Jezebel, because the company that owned us refused to treat my staff with basic human decency.” I find it disgusting how a company that claims to fight for women is purportedly mistreating its female employees.
Then, Bassett said in another post on X today, “I’m obviously boiling and have too much to say on this subject [Jezebel shutting down]. But for now I’ll just say my heart is with the entire Jez staff who just got laid off, including incredible abortion reporters at a time when the beat couldn’t be more relevant to national politics. Please hire them.”
Lauren Tousignant, who served as Jezebel's interim editor-in-chief, wrote, “Will have more to say soon, but for now, I am just so pissed and so sad, but mostly I’m so pissed."
G/O Media CEO Jim Spanfeller wrote a memo to the staff about the shutdown. "As of this week, we are making the very, very difficult decision to suspend publication of Jezebel," he wrote. “Few decisions over the course of my career have been as excruciating, and I want to make clear this is in NO WAY a reflection on the Jezebel editorial team.”
He added, "Over the longer term, we will be adding new positions with updated or perhaps new goals in mind."
Spanfeller continued, “Unfortunately, our business model and the audiences we serve across our network did not align with Jezebel’s. And when that became clear, we undertook an expansive search for a new, perhaps better home that might ensure Jezebel a path forward. It became a personal mission of Lea Goldman, who worked tirelessly on the project, talking with over two dozen potential buyers. It is a testament to Jezebel’s heritage and bonafides that so many players engaged us. Still, despite every effort, we could not find Jez a new home.”
Is it the end of leftist-leaning media publications? Recently, Vice Media Group announced that they were laying off more employees, months after more than 100 people were laid off in April. Likewise, the Washington Post revealed that they would cut 240 jobs through a "voluntary redundancy scheme." Even Buzzfeed News met its demise earlier this year.
While Jezebel may not have agreed with our values, we send our regards to the women who have lost their jobs in this tough economy.
As other digital media outlets are collapsing or downsizing, now is the time to support a publication whose values align with yours. Ensure Evie Magazine continues to reach even more women by supporting our cause and subscribing today.