Host of ‘Reply All’ Podcast to Step Back After Claims of Toxic Workplace

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PJ Vogt will step down from his job hosting the podcast “Reply All,” one of Spotify Technology SA’s most popular series, following allegations of a toxic work environment. 

Vogt is taking a leave of absence and could return, and Sruthi Pinnamaneni, a senior reporter for “Reply All,” will stop working on the show immediately, Lydia Polgreen, managing director of Spotify’s Gimlet Media, said in a note to staff Wednesday.

“From the moment I arrived at Gimlet, it was clear that our culture needed work, and that there were big things that needed to change to make this a better, more equitable place,” Polgreen wrote, adding that recent negotiations with Gimlet’s union have been confrontational.

Vogt and Pinnamaneni are stepping aside after two former colleagues, Eric Eddings and Brittany Luse, accused them of stunting efforts in 2018 and 2019 to diversify the workforce at Gimlet, an award-winning podcast studio that Spotify acquired in the latter year. Eddings and Luse hosted the show “The Nod” for Gimlet, which later became a video series for the short-lived video service Quibi.

“Reply All” is one of the most popular podcasts in the U.S., and the most popular podcast for Gimlet, and just the latest media institution to reckon with workplace discrimination. Allegations of racism have cascaded through newsrooms over the past year, following the killing of George Floyd, prompting resignations of top journalists across the U.S. Just this month, the New York Times’s award-winning health journalist Donald McNeil stepped down after using a racial slur on a trip with students a couple of years ago.

Pinnamaneni was in the middle of working on a special series about that very topic — racism and discrimination at Bon Appetit, the glossy food magazine. Bon Appetit’s top editor, Adam Rapoport, resigned last year after allegations surfaced. Pinnamaneni was scheduled to leave “Reply All” for other projects after the show, but will now depart immediately.

“Reply All,” a show about internet culture, will continue. 

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