Sports Illustrated has fired one of the highest paid writers after he complained about salary cuts related to the corona virus revealed by the magazine’s publisher last month.
Grant Wahl, one of the country’s leading soccer journalists, earns more than $ US350,000 ($ A550,000) a year but is hit by a 30 percent salary cut as part of last month’s cost cutting which included the shooting of 31 people in Maven, the magazine’s publisher since last fall, according to sources. Bloodshed resulted in about 6 percent of staff in SI being released.
Before his captain on Friday afternoon, Wahl had blasted management for cutting a series of Instagram posts in the last few days. Management responded, giving him a thank you in a memo circulated to the staff.
“We have decided to direct what should be this person’s salary into additional severance payments and health benefits for those who need it most,” said Jim Heckman, CEO of Maven, in a memo obtained by The Post.
“Complaining about cutting personal salaries when 31 others lose their jobs is incomprehensible given the sacrifices made by others to help limit layoffs and maintain decent salaries for our staff,” the memo said. “Attitudes like me were not part of the tradition and culture that Maven was committed to maintaining first.”
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Although the memo did not reveal the name of the author, sources close to the situation said it was referring to Wahl. The memo said staff who were fired were paid “more than $ 350,000 last year to rarely write stories that generate little meaningful viewership or income.”
Wahl himself revealed on social media he was fired on Friday morning without severance pay. That follows a series of Instagram posts in the last few weeks taken on Twitter that condemned management for cuts.
“Who will take advantage of the pandemic to permanently reduce someone’s salary outside the pandemic,” Wahl wrote. “Maven and James Heckman will do it.”
Posts have since been deleted. But on Friday afternoon, Wahl posted a rebuttal to the Friday memo on Twitter:
“I told Maven that I was fine taking a 30% discount during a pandemic. But it’s a shame to try to push through a permanent 30% cut outside the pandemic, “Wahl wrote. He added that” his base salary was far below [$350,000], but I get a bonus because my boss says my job is very good, “added,” I often write. “
Wahl and several other top writers including Tom Verducci and Pat Forde, who joined five months earlier from Yahoo Sports survived last month’s cuts, which included nine staff at SI as part of 31 companies worldwide.
Maven took over the Sports Illustrated media operation and its website under a licensing agreement with Authentic Brands Group, which bought the magazine from Meredith in the spring of 2019 for $ 110 million.
The handover to Maven – which also owns Jim Cramer’s financial news website The Street and provided technical support for many digital publications it did not own – took place in October and was accompanied by an initial staff reduction in SI of more than 40 percent.