Sports Illustrated claims it fired veteran soccer reporter Grant Wahl because he acted like an entitled jerk who complained about taking a pay cut amid tumbling ad revenues exacerbated by the coronavirus shutdowns.
Wahl had groused on Twitter that “Maven just fired me from Sports Illustrated. No severance. Nothing.”
Maven just fired me from Sports Illustrated. No severance. Nothing.
— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) April 10, 2020
James Heckman — the CEO of Maven (SI’s publisher) — clapped back at Wahl in an email explaining that he was fired because he was not a team player and his huge salary was not justified by his output.
“Every senior staff member volunteered to put their personal budgeted future at risk, to save jobs and ensure stable salaries for those making less. Everyone, that is, but one person.
This person made more than $350,000 last year to infrequently write stories that generated little meaningful viewership or revenue. Yet he trumpeted that he thought it shameful to be asked to participate in helping his fellow workers.
To complain about a personal pay reduction when 31 others had just lost their jobs is incomprehensible in light of the sacrifices others made to help limit layoffs and maintain livable salaries for our staff. Such a me-first attitude is not part of the tradition and culture Maven is committed to maintaining.
We’ve decided to direct what would have been this person’s salary into additional severance pay and health benefits for those laid off who need it the most.”
Heckman said “coronavirus-driven declines in advertising revenue” forced Maven to reduce compensation from “high-salary members of our team.”
He said Grant Wahl initially balked at the suggestion, even though other staffers readily agreed to take pay cuts in order to prevent mass firings.
Wahl worked for Sports Illustrated for 24 years, primarily covering soccer. In the United States, soccer is not a particularly popular sport.
Over the years, Wahl made several YouTube videos for Sports Illustrated. Most garnered anemic views.
Making $350,000 a year to write about soccer is not a shabby deal. You would be hard-pressed to find such a cushy gig, especially amid a coronavirus-induced recession.
On Twitter, Wahl claimed that he “was fine” with a 30% pay cut during the coronavirus crisis, but was upset that management was trying to make the pay cut permanent.
Keep in mind that across the United States, millions of Americans have lost their jobs and now have zero income.
1) I told Maven I was fine taking a 30% pay cut during the pandemic. But it was shameful to try to push through a permanent 30% cut beyond the pandemic.
2) My base salary was far below that, but I got a bonus because my bosses said my work was very good.
3) I write frequently. https://t.co/Q5BvV2CTeg
— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) April 10, 2020
Maven, which is based in Seattle, announced in October 2019 that it had to lay off almost 50% of the Sports Illustrated staff to cut costs.
Last month, Maven announced that it would lay off an additional 9% of its entire workforce due to a $30 million decline in projected 2020 revenues.
In other words, Grant Wahl’s tussle with management amid company-wide layoffs and tumbling revenues was ill-advised.
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As BizPac Review reported, mass layoffs are crushing many media companies. This suggests that the media’s apocalyptic daily warnings aimed at undermining President Trump have been a bad business strategy. Why? Because Americans — at their core — are optimists who will eventually tune out Chicken Littles.
The coronavirus outbreak is a real crisis, but it won’t last forever. However, the media has forever lost its credibility for pushing the Russia hoax, the impeachment scam, and false claims that Justice Brett Kavanaugh was a gang rapist in high school.
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