With the announcement that Emma Carmichael is joining Gawker-owned, Celebrity Gossip site Jezebel.com as editor-in-chief, employees are a bit curious why an outsider was picked over their favored long-time deputy editor for the job?
A piece by Capital’s Peter Sterne notes that long-time deputy editor Dodai Stewart was passed over for editor-in-chief even though Jezebel employees really like her and had hoped she would get the job.
Stewart, an African American, was hired in the early days of the site by founding editor Anna Holmes. But her role has grown, especially in the past year since now former editor-in-chief Jessica Cohen had been flying back and forth between her home in Chicago and Gawker Media’s New York offices.
Still, all that extra work running the site when Cohen was away didn’t seem to push Stewart into the lead for the job and insiders are curious way.
One insider told Capital that the employees were “really rooting” for Stewart because she was “doing a wonderful job” running the site while Cohen was away.
But even as she was told she was a “leading internal candidate” for the job, after a single meeting she heard nothing until minutes before Buzzfeed reported that Emma Carmichael had gotten the job.
While Stewart is being gracious thus far, insiders find wonder if whole situation might have a racial element.
“But the decision to hand the site to a young white woman instead of Stewart–a black woman who has been working at the site since Carmichael was still in college–rubs some current and former staffers the wrong way, especially since the site has been criticized in the past for its handling of race issues,” Sterne wrote.
The pair, though, seem to be ready to work together regardless. Both were seen having a drink and having a “friendly and informal” chat.
Jezebel.com was launched by New York-based Gawker Media in 2007. The site has had some criticism for how it has handled race issues and this incident is sure to be added to that criticism.