UPDATED– The future of iconic French film publication Cahiers du Cinéma is in question after most of the outlet’s staff quit in protest over the brand’s new ownership. Although it was reported in local media that the entire staff had resigned, it turns out that at least two staffers have decided to stay on board. Seven journalists have quit, including the editor-in-chief Stéphane Delorme and deputy editor Jean-Philippe Tessé.
The editorial staff has spoken out against a perceived conflict of interest posed by the Cahier’s owners — a group of bankers, tech entrepreneurs and film producers that bought the publication one month back.
A statement released by staff on Thursday reads, “The new shareholders are composed notably of eight producers and this poses a problem of conflict of interest for a critical review. No matter what articles might be published on film by these producers, it would automatically be suspected.
“The autonomous charter presented by these new shareholders has already been contradicted by the brutal news in the press. It was communicated to us that our review should ‘refocus’ on French cinema. The appointment of director general of the general delegation of the SRF (Society of Film Directors), Julie Lethiphu, adds to fears of an influence from the French cinema community.”
The statement notes that staff was informed the magazine would become more “chic” and mass-market in the future. The magazine’s journalists are all taking a buy-out clause that protects the rights of journalists when the ownership of an outlet changes.
Founded in 1951, the esteemed publication counted among its first contributors Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut.
Tessé, who’s worked at Cahiers for 17 years, said, “The new owners want to make it a ‘chic’ and ‘cordial’ review; it’s absolute nonsense.”
The French newspaper Le Monde reports that the new shareholders claim they have not instructed staffers to alter their editorial vision.
“The editorial staff must write what they want on cinema. It is out of the question to guide your choices,” Eric Lenoir, the new manager of the company, told Le Monde.