Paul Maidment, the editorial director of G/O Media whose directive to Deadspin staff to write only about sports led to the entire editorial team quitting last week, has resigned his position effective immediately.
“It is the right moment for me to leave to pursue an entrepreneurial opportunity,” Maidment said in a memo sent to company staff Tuesday. “I admire the journalism that you produce and the unique voice that is otherwise missing from mainstream media. It has been a great honor and I wish you all the very best. I am certain that the sites will grow and thrive in the future.”
A G/O Media spokesperson said in a statement, “We thank Paul for his hard work and wish him nothing but the very best. We will be working with our EICs to expedite the search for a new editorial director.”
The mass exit from Deadspin — in which all of the site’s 20 editorial employees left the building — came following Maidment’s formal fiat to Deadspin to limit its coverage to sports. “Deadspin will write only about sports and that which is relevant to sports in some way,” he wrote in an Oct. 28 memo. That appeared to be a response to the site’s articles critical of G/O Media, including a Deadspin piece (since deleted) saying staff were “upset with the current state of our site’s user experience” after the company began running auto-play video ads.
The day after Maidment issued the stick-to-sports directive, the Deadspin staff revolted by publishing exclusively non-sports-related stories. G/O Media promptly fired interim editor-in-chief Barry Petchesky, after which the rest of Deadspin’s staff submitted their resignations over the next few days.
Maidment joined G/O Media this past June after the company’s formation. Univision sold Gizmodo Media Group and The Onion to private-equity firm Great Hill Partners and CEO Jim Spanfeller, who owns a minority stake in the company.
Maidment previously was the editor of Forbes.com where Spanfeller had been CEO. Maidment most recently was managing editor Oxford Analytica’s Daily Brief economic newsletter. Prior to Forbes, he worked at Financial Times and The Economist.
G/O Media’s properties are Gizmodo, Jalopnik, Jezebel, Deadspin, Lifehacker, Kotaku, The Root, and The Onion, which comprises the flagship satire brand, A.V. Club, ClickHole and The Takeout. Last month, the company shut down news site Splinter and laid off its seven employees.