People writer Sara Hammel went out with a bang — see nuclear — when she abruptly quit after “a wildly dysfunctional 14 years” on the job.
“It’s not me, it’s you,” Hammel wrote in a scathing resignation letter sent to editorial director Jess Cagle and other top editors, according to the New York Post.
Not only did she burn the bridge on her way out, Hammel blew it to smithereens.
It’s been a wildly dysfunctional 14 years, and you’re an entirely different magazine than when we first got together. I swear half the current staff doesn’t know my name, despite my contribution to something like fifteen hundred stories in your celebrity annals, so here’s a refresher: I worked inside your London, Los Angeles and New York bureaus, covered breaking news in nine countries, and dealt with too many celebrities to remember.
She proceeded to call some of the celebrities out by name, including an A-list performer she didn’t name, but said, “I’m still pissed I didn’t jab him in the balls with my pen.”
Hammel then turned the emphasis back to People magazine:
This is just what the entitled stars and their bat—t crazy publicists put me and many other talented, hard-working reporters through. You people, as it turns out, are worse. Stupidly, we expect loyalty and support from you after years of service. We are naïve. Despite your nicey nice, glossy and chirpy veneer, some of us think of you more as the Leo DiCaprio of magazines, using up every beautiful model that crosses your path (“beautiful model”= “award-winning journalist” in this scenario), discarding them, and pretending you leave no wake behind you.
Clearly, the freelancer journalist has grown tired of the celebrity gossip beat:
I’m oddly surprised my tenure here is ending not with explosive hatred stoked by a cold dismissal from an insensate behemoth (i.e. you)—a fate I watched ashen-faced friends and colleagues endure before my eyes during the Los Angeles bureau’s 2008 culling—but with a slow fade-out and a final venting of my gossip-weary spleen. Then again, that’s why I’m happy being freelance. I’ve survived something like eight rounds of layoffs where talented colleagues were bitch-slapped into oblivion and, I hope, will never give their nights, weekends, relationships and sanity again to keep up with an email chain about whether Jennifer Aniston is pregnant at 47 because of those tummy photos and what kind of mom will she be, when really she just had an extra burrito at lunch; but oh, wait, the rep says it’s just a rumor so there’s no story this week after all.
And Hammel finally gets around to the “kicker” that set her off:
I will say, what happens after that is that my debut teen mystery, the one I spent my adult life making into a reality, but which, despite the schlock regularly featured in its pages and online, People decided to ignore—more to the point, they ignored me entirely—even after I toiled away for them for 14 years. They wouldn’t even give me a digital post that I wrote, sourced, and agreed to remove the name of my book from (LOL). That book is called The Underdogs.
I’ll leave you with the kicker:
As I was crafting this letter, a Tweet came through from one of your top editors, Kate Coyne, crowing about her full-page People feature promoting her brand-new book, accompanied by a colorful screenshot. “Don’t ask how, but I got in touch with someone at @people—now I’m in the new issue. So grateful!”
You should be, Kate. Enjoy it while it lasts.
This is one that will be hard to top… assuming Hammel ever gets someone to hire her again.
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