Following the dismissal of Fader editor in chief Eric Sundermann for sexual misconduct earlier this month, the company announced today that longtime publisher Andy Cohn will be stepping down from his post as well, according to an internal letter obtained by Variety. A rep for the company confirmed the document’s authenticity.
While the company initially refuted a report that Cohn was under investigation for “enabling Eric and looking the other way,” a subsequent report in Jezebel quoted sources as saying that he and others at The Fader were aware of Sundermann’s alleged behavior before he was hired, and that Cohn had once behaved inappropriately at a 2011 company event. He was subsequently suspended pending an investigation.
Today’s letter, signed by Co-CEOs Jon Cohen and Rob Stone, reads in part: “We recognize that some of you are traveling for the holiday but wanted to update you in real time about the results from the independent investigation we commissioned into workplace culture, following recent allegations of misconduct.
“The Fader aspires to be the most welcoming place in the industry for creative minds to share their talents with the world. Achieving this means holding ourselves accountable when we fall short — and implementing and improving processes, policies, and procedures that ensure prompt reporting of any potential issues and promote inclusivity.
“The independent investigators conducted interviews with both current employees and former employees and reviewed internal emails and other documents. In short, we have determined we need to make some real changes in how this company runs in order to achieve our goals.
“We acknowledge that structural change also requires new leadership. Together with Andy Cohn, we have agreed it is time for a change. After 16 years, Andy will be leaving The Fader. We are proud of what we have built together and we are very grateful for all of his contributions in helping us grow The Fader during this time. As we work to determine the best path forward for our executive team, we will be taking a more active role in the management and operations of The Fader.”
The letter then lists actions the company will be taking immediately, including “improving our internal HR function by dedicating more resources to it and doing a better job of encouraging employees to take advantage of the assistance HR can offer with all aspects of their jobs… ensuring everyone understands the process for reporting concerns or complaints… engageing an outside consultant to help us improve our hiring process, including the vetting of employees prior to hiring … vastly improving our review process … providing mandatory diversity and inclusion training … [and] reviewing other company policies to determine whether any other changes should be made.” The letter concludes by asking all staff to share their questions, concerns and ideas.