This morning, the culture media website the Outline laid off editorial staff from its Power section. According to tweets from the section’s former editor, Emilie Friedlander, both she and staff writer Gaby Del Valle were let go. Friedlander described it as a section being cut.
Help! The Outline just let go of its Power section staff. Please get in touch with any freelance work or job leads, for editing and/or writing. My email: firstname.lastname@example.org
— Emilie Friedlander (@AdHocEmilie) June 11, 2018
Joshua Topolsky, the Outline‘s founder and editor-in-chief, wrote the following to me in an email: “We let go of two underperforming employees–the power section here is more than intact. You’ll continue to see great power stories from us!”
Either way, sources tell me the decision to cut the employees caught many who work at the company off guard.
The website raised $5.15 million in May, after raising $11 million earlier. The site reportedly attracted 3 million unique visitors last April.
If you work at the Outline and want to chat anonymously, please feel free to reach out.
Update: Topolsky has tweeted an apology for his earlier statement:
I wrote something really stupid in an email in haste to a reporter at Fast Company. There’s no excuse for it. It was shitty and I’m sorry, but as we know that doesn’t matter because there is damage done. Still, I am sorry and recognize how dumb it was.
— Joshua Topolsky (@joshuatopolsky) June 11, 2018
Another update: According to Daily Beast reporter Max Tani, Topolsky sent an all-staff memo apologizing for his statement and calling his earlier words about the two reporters “just plain wrong.”