Troy Young was called out on Wednesday for leading a “toxic culture” at the magazine empire behind Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Harper’s Bazaar and O, the Oprah Magazine, according to a scathing new report.
The New York Times on Wednesday said the Hearst Magazines president has drawn criticism internally for a series of his lewd and sexist remarks, including asking a pregnant Cosmopolitan staffer in the corporate cafeteria, “So, is the baby mine?”.
But insiders tell The Post that the top Hearst brass are circling the wagons and standing behind Young. “He doesn’t have a good filter,” one insider told the Post.
According to The Times story, Young, while still running the digital side of Hearst Magazines, also made off comments about sex toys that had been sent to Cosmopolitan, including asking if he could keep one of them for himself and claiming he would “definitely need the larger one.”
And he once sent porn to then-Esquire editor in chief Jay Fielden, the story said.
The report also recalled a story from a young staffer about her uncomfortable interaction with Young at a holiday party. The woman told the paper she was describing a bad experience in which her date complained about his ex’s odor. Young is reported to have replied that she should have inserted her fingers into herself and asked her date how he liked her smell.
Young, 52, said he denied the allegations as “either untrue, greatly exaggerated or taken out of context.” As for the holiday party comment, which other staffers confirmed, Young said: “Candid conversations about sex defined the Cosmo brand for decades, and those who worked there discussed it openly.”
Nate Hopper, an assistant editor of Esquire at the time, was among the staffers who witnessed the incident and said he was creeped out by it. “I think he (Young) violated the decency of what was otherwise a friendly conversation,” Collins told The Times. “It has been something that I wish I had done something about in the moment for a very long time.”
The Times article also took aim at one of the prominent hires in the Troy Young era — Jessica Pels, the editor in chief of Cosmopolitan — for her dealings with people of color during an earlier stint running Marie Claire’s website.
Jazmin Jones, who was an editor at Marie Claire.com, said her boss at the time made disparaging remarks in an internal Slack channel about a person of color over her hair and makeup. Jones reportedly told the Times, “Hearst doesn’t care about you if you’re not a skinny white lady.”
Pels was pressed in a June Zoom call with Cosmo staffers about Jones’ allegations and sources said she was brought to tears.
Another Cosmo staffer, Prachi Gupta, who covered politics for Cosmopolitan before Pels arrival at the title, said that black and brown women were made to “feel less than equal” at Hearst.
The Writers Guild of America East, which was in the midst of a push to have its union recognized as the bargaining agent for 350 editorial workers, was quick to pounce on Jones and Gupta’s criticisms in a Twitter post last month.
“We stand with @prachigu, Jazim Jones, and all Hearst employees past and present who have endured and continue to endure racism in the workplace,” the WGAE tweeted.
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