Dozens of staffers at Sports Illustrated are expected to be laid off as early as Thursday, according to sources and published reports, and the cuts could be as deep as 50 percent of staff.
Late Wednesday night, SI staffers received emails telling them to report to a “transition meeting” on Thursday. Staffers compared the emails and quickly realized that there are two separate meetings, at different times, and they fear that one of the groups (“Thanos-like”) will be given pink slips, with the other told it is safe.
One source within the company says the number being bandied about is 50 percent of full-time staff. The Wall Street Journal, which first reported on the impending layoffs, says “more than 40 positions” will be eliminated, and replaced by contractors working for TheMaven, a startup headed by a pair of extremely questionable bros, which in June brokered a deal to license Sports Illustrated from new owners Authentic Brands Group. TheMaven’s job listings already contain a number of SI positions, including “Expert Writer” and “Sport Editor,” and SI employees have noticed in recent days that multiple TheMaven contributors have started listing Sports Illustrated in their LinkedIn and Twitter profiles.
Though the timing and the depth of the cuts are stunning, layoffs have been expected for a while, and became imminent when longtime editor-in-chief Chris Stone was announced on Tuesday to be leaving the company. We’re told that SI Digital Editor Mark McClusky was let go Wednesday evening.
This all obviously sucks super-hard. If you know more about the goings-on at SI, please get in touch.