GQ Shits the Bed

Will Sommer, reporting for The Washington Post:

In an unusual step, GQ magazine removed an article critical of powerful media executive David Zaslav from its website just hours after it was published Monday, following a complaint from Zaslav’s camp. [...] At one point, Bailey compared Zaslav to tyrannical “Succession” patriarch Logan Roy. “In a relatively short period of time, David Zaslav has become perhaps the most hated man in Hollywood,” Bailey wrote.

A Zaslav spokesman complained to GQ about the story soon after it was published, according to people close to the process who spoke on the condition of anonymity to preserve confidences. By early afternoon on Monday, the magazine had made extensive edits to the story. [...]

Bailey told The Washington Post that, after GQ made the changes, he asked editors to remove his byline. He said an editor told him that GQ would not keep an article on its website without the author’s name. By Monday afternoon, the article was removed entirely from the site.

Humiliating cowardice on the part of GQ’s editors. The original article was harsh but accurate. It had some zingers, yes, but it was mostly just a factual list of the actual shitty and stupid things Zaslov has done since he took the helm of the newly combined Warner Bros Discovery conglomerate. Why would GQ do this? There’s a wee bit of a bad smell with this:

GQ has a corporate connection to Warner Bros. Discovery. The magazine’s parent company, Condé Nast, is owned by Advance Publications, a major shareholder in Warner Bros. Discovery. Advance Publications did not respond to a request for comment.

But over at Variety, Tatiana Siegel uncovers the stench:

GQ editor-in-chief Will Welch is producing a movie at Warner Bros. titled “The Great Chinese Art Heist,” which is based on a 2018 GQ article by Alex W. Palmer. [...] Sources say Welch was involved in the discussions surrounding the removal of Bailey’s initial story and made the call to pull the revamped story, which ran some 500 words shorter than the published version. Those same sources say Warner Bros. Discovery complained about the initial story to two GQ editors, one of whom was Welch.

Friday, 7 July 2023