Zach Stafford, editor of The Advocate, and Phillip Picardi, editor of Out magazine, have both announced their resignations following financial troubles by their publications’ parent company, Pride Media.
Pride Media’s CEO Orlando Reece is stepping down as well, leaving an uncertain future for these longrunning LGBTQ publications.
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Their departures follow two rounds of layoffs among the publications’ editorial and sales staff, severe pay and budget cuts that left freelancers unpaid for months, a lawsuit by the National Writers’ Union to get those freelancers paid, a reduction in the number of print issues, the sudden departure of Pride Media’s former CEO Nathan Coyle, several failed attempts to secure outside funding, and a $10 million lawsuit brought by Pride Media against the publication’s former owners for allegedly hiding hundreds of thousands in debt during the publications’ sale.
Reece and Stafford – the first black men ever to lead as Pride Media’s CEO and The Advocate’s editor, respectively – are expected to stay in their roles until January 2020. But Picardi wrote on his Twitter account yesterday, “Today marks my last day at @outmagazine, just one year after I started. This journey has been shorter and more complex than I hoped, but it has been an honor to helm this title, and a deeper honor to lead such an incredibly talented team of LGBTQ+ people.”
Today marks my last day at @outmagazine, just one year after I started. This journey has been shorter and more complex than I hoped, but it has been an honor to helm this title, and a deeper honor to lead such an incredibly talented team of LGBTQ+ people. pic.twitter.com/r0eq7n6ZUp
— Phillip Picardi (@pfpicardi) December 11, 2019
In September 2018, when Adam Levin, one of the founders of Oreva Capital, first acquired Here Media’s Out, The Advocate, Pride, Plus, Out and Out Traveler magazine under the newly formed Pride Media brand, it quickly surfaced that Levin had a substantial history of donating to rabidly anti-LGBTQ Republican politicians. After pledging to stop such donations, Levin said his support had entirely to do with the politicians’ support for Isreal.
Levin has not yet commented on this recent departure of high-level staff. It’s unclear whether Oreva Capital/Pride Media might resort to a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing or a Chapter 7 liquidation filing to help ease the publications’ financial strain, possibly leaving the publications available to a future buyer.
Out magazine was founded in 1992. The Advocate was founded in 1967.