Chaos at Newsweek: Top editors suddenly out

Employees at Newsweek have been told that editor-in-chief Bob Roe and executive editor Ken Li have been fired, source...

Posted: Feb 6, 2018 11:24 AM
Updated: Feb 6, 2018 11:24 AM

Employees at Newsweek have been told that editor-in-chief Bob Roe and executive editor Ken Li have been fired, sources with knowledge of the situation told CNN.

A reporter, Celeste Katz, who had written articles about financial issues at the magazine as well as an investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney's office into its parent company, Newsweek Media Group, was also let go, the sources said.

Katz declined to comment to CNN but tweeted on Monday afternoon, "My warmest thanks to the brave Newsweek editors and colleagues who supported and shared in my work - especially our recent, difficult stories about the magazine itself - before my dismissal today. I'll sleep well tonight... and I'm looking for a job!"

Staff in Newsweek's New York offices were told they could stop working and go home for the day on Monday afternoon, multiple sources said.

"Can confirm I was fired. I know nothing else. Can say nothing else yet," Roe told CNN in an email.

Li could not be reached for comment, though he tweeted, "What a day to leave my charger at home."

A spokesman for Newsweek said the company would not have any comment on personnel matters.

The news comes during a turbulent time for the magazine. Just last week the co-owner and chairman of Newsweek Media Group, Etienne Uzac, and his wife Marion Kim, who acted as the company's finance director, both stepped down.

Last month the Manhattan District Attorney's office raided the company's offices, taking several servers. Newsweek itself, in a story co-written by Katz and Josh Saul, reported that the raid was part of a long-running investigation into the company's finances.

Katz, Saul and IBT reporter Josh Keefe had all contributed to articles about the turbulence at Newsweek in recent weeks, including the resignations of Uzac and Kim. Katz had also reported on the company's chief content officer, Dayan Candappa, who was placed on leave following a BuzzFeed report into sexual harassment allegations that, BuzzFeed said, had led to Candappa's departure from Reuters. Newsweek Media Group subsequently hired an outside law firm to conduct an internal investigation.

Multiple sources said rumors were swirling in the newsroom that Saul and Keefe had also been fired, and other media outlets reported that they had been. But a source with knowledge of the situation told CNN that while Keefe had his email account deactivated on Monday and was told to meet with human resources, he was ultimately saved by an editor who stepped in to prevent his firing. Saul, the same source said, is on vacation and thus far has not been told that he's been fired.

A Newsweek spokesperson did not immediately respond to questions about Keefe and Saul.

The New York Post, citing a source close to the company, reported last month that the Manhattan DA's probe is focused on the financial connection between former Newsweek Media Group executives and a Christian college, Olivet University. Olivet said in a statement last month that it is "inaccurate" to say there is a connection between the raid and the university. Uzac, Kim and other Newsweek Media Group executives have direct ties to the university.

Uzac co-founded International Business Times, which in 2013 bought Newsweek. In 2017 the company was rebranded as Newsweek Media Group. Uzac's IBT co-founder, Jonathan Davis, is married to the president of Olivet.

Multiple sources said staffers at Newsweek are worried for their jobs and have started to reach out to their networks about other employment possibilities. Some were drinking in the office. Katz received a round of applause as she was escorted out of the newsroom, sources said.

Senior writer Matthew Cooper tendered his resignation on Monday as a result of the chaos, saying in a resignation letter obtained by CNN that he has never "seen more reckless leadership."

"It's the installation of editors, not Li and Roe, who recklessly sought clicks at the expense of accuracy, retweets over fairness, that leaves me most despondent not only for Newsweek but for other publications that don't heed the lessons of this publication's fall," Cooper said in the letter.

In an internal staff memo obtained by CNN, Newsweek announced that International Business Times Editor Nancy Cooper will take over as acting editor of Newsweek. The company also announced that Davis is returning to a day-to-day role at the company, becoming interim chief content officer while Candappa is on leave. The memo also said, "The company will not be commenting any further on these personnel changes at this time."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 295675

Reported Deaths: 6743
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19690230
Hinds18812389
Harrison16722280
Rankin12725265
Jackson12603228
Lee9691160
Madison9466203
Jones7978147
Forrest7217138
Lauderdale6836226
Lowndes6031140
Lamar588480
Lafayette5736113
Washington5218130
Bolivar4612123
Oktibbeha441493
Panola430894
Pearl River4174130
Warren4130115
Pontotoc409771
Marshall403392
Monroe3990126
Union395674
Neshoba3817169
Lincoln3544103
Hancock347975
Leflore3376118
Sunflower318986
Tate302974
Pike300796
Scott293970
Alcorn291862
Itawamba290075
Yazoo289963
Tippah278965
Coahoma278668
Copiah278158
Simpson275879
Prentiss269858
Wayne254241
Marion252778
Leake252671
Covington248980
Grenada247578
Adams234678
George231845
Newton229952
Winston221777
Jasper213445
Tishomingo212365
Attala206569
Chickasaw201152
Holmes182370
Clay179251
Stone172429
Tallahatchie170939
Clarke169371
Calhoun157928
Smith152832
Yalobusha144836
Greene127733
Walthall124240
Noxubee122831
Montgomery122639
Perry121734
Lawrence120421
Carroll118425
Amite111734
Webster110631
Jefferson Davis101931
Tunica99023
Claiborne98429
Benton93524
Humphreys92827
Kemper90223
Quitman77214
Franklin76119
Choctaw69617
Jefferson62727
Wilkinson62426
Sharkey48917
Issaquena1676
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 494421

Reported Deaths: 9991
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson711451374
Mobile36184735
Madison32457458
Tuscaloosa24213412
Montgomery22636517
Shelby22020214
Baldwin19790284
Lee14980154
Morgan13693251
Calhoun13307287
Etowah13192320
Marshall11269209
Houston10102261
Elmore9408185
Limestone9376134
Cullman8903181
St. Clair8839224
Lauderdale8601212
DeKalb8465175
Talladega7552164
Walker6538258
Jackson6503103
Autauga630391
Blount6106127
Colbert5993119
Coffee5254102
Dale4648107
Russell405233
Franklin399478
Covington3970106
Chilton3883100
Escambia378172
Tallapoosa3596143
Clarke343753
Chambers3421111
Dallas3412141
Pike293372
Lawrence283684
Marion283495
Winston247368
Bibb245460
Geneva240270
Marengo236557
Pickens224555
Barbour212451
Hale210668
Fayette200957
Butler197566
Henry182641
Cherokee177139
Monroe166339
Randolph163840
Washington156635
Crenshaw145254
Clay145054
Macon142343
Cleburne137841
Lamar133133
Lowndes131251
Wilcox122525
Bullock117136
Conecuh106724
Perry105827
Sumter98632
Coosa89224
Greene88232
Choctaw55123
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