Jezebel, A Feminist Publication, Shuts Down
The feminist publication Jezebel is closing its doors after a 16-year run. G/O Media, its parent company, revealed that the decision was driven by what they termed “economic headwinds,” citing high-interest rates and global crises as contributing factors. Jim Spanfeller, the CEO of G/O Media, disclosed the closure in an internal memo, stating that 23 individuals would be laid off as part of a broader restructuring involving both editorial and business teams.
Spanfeller, in his memo, made it explicitly clear that the shutdown of Jezebel was not a reflection of the editorial team’s competence. Instead, he commended the team’s dedication to meeting audience needs, particularly applauding their coverage of reproductive rights in the wake of the Supreme Court’s 2022 decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
However, despite these efforts, the business model of Jezebel and the audiences it catered to did not align with the broader strategy of G/O Media. The company diligently sought a new home for Jezebel, engaging in talks with over two dozen potential buyers. Unfortunately for them, these negotiations did not yield a favorable outcome.
Spanfeller expressed a measure of optimism for Jezebel’s future, remarking, “I haven’t given up on Jezebel. Media is nothing if not resilient. So are its practitioners.” He pledged to keep the staff informed if circumstances change, leaving a glimmer of hope for the platform’s potential resurrection.
Launched in 2007 as a gender-focused media site, Jezebel became synonymous with feminist commentary on issues related to gender identity. Over the years, it garnered attention for its distinctive tone and occasionally controversial decisions, such as spending $10,000 on unretouched photos of Lena Dunham following a Vogue photoshoot.
Jezebel joined the G/O Media portfolio in 2019, alongside other well-known platforms like Gizmodo, Quartz, The Onion, and The Root. Notably, G/O Media had previously sold its life advice publication, Lifehacker, in March and implemented staff layoffs in June.
Jezebel’s closure adds to a growing list of challenges faced by media outlets in recent times. Earlier this year, Vice Media filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and in April, Buzzfeed News announced its shutdown as part of a broader cost-cutting initiative by its corporate parent.
As Jezebel bids farewell, the shuttering of this longstanding feminist platform underscores the harsh realities of the media industry. Economic pressures and shifting audience dynamics can impact even the most established and influential platforms, reminding us that adaptability is crucial for survival in today’s ever-changing media landscape. Goodbye and good riddance, Jezebel.