Newsweek magazine appears to be in trouble Monday, after the publication fired its top editor, along with several reporters who were looking into financial issues involving Newsweek’s parent company and its connection to a California college.
Newsweek editor-in-chief Bob Roe, executive editor Ken Li, and reporter Celeste Katz were fired Monday morning, and at least two other reporters have been let go, the Huffington Post reports. One reporter has quit in solidarity with the fired journalists, and over what he termed “reckless leadership.”
The shakeup seems to originate with a story several Newsweek reporters and editors were following about a “money trail” that flowed between former executives at Newsweek Media Group and Olivet University, a Christian college headquartered in California. According to reports, Newsweek’s top executives had close connections to the school, and, in recent years, “paid the school more than $2.8 million for licensing and research-and-development agreements.”
In January, officials from the New York District Attorney’s office raided Newsweek’s offices, looking for two servers. Buzzfeed reported last week that “the publisher of Newsweek and the International Business Times has been engaging in fraudulent online traffic practices that helped it secure a major ad buy from a US government agency.”
Although Newsweek denied that they’d purchased traffic for their struggling publication, and that they’d engaged in any financial wrongdoing, both Newsweek Media Group founder, Etienne Uzac, and his wife, the company’s financial director, stepped down on February 1.
Sources also told Huffington Post that the reporters and editors fired on Monday were investigating their own parent company.
“It’s all the people who were investigating the church,” an anonymous staffer told HuffPo, likening the situation to Robert Mueller’s investigation of Donald Trump. “So it’s pretty clear. They fired the special counsel, essentially.”