Venerable sports magazine Sports Illustrated is suffering a major setback this week after its publisher announced that it was laying off the publication’s entire staff. This comes after a neck-breaking turn toward wokeism and other internal problems over the last few years.
The story was first reported by Front Office Sports which revealed on Friday that Authentic, the licensing group that owns SI, terminated its contract with the magazine’s management, The Arena Group.
Authentic bought the once highly popular sports magazine in 2019 for $110 million from former owners Meredith.
In an email sent to magazine staffers, Arena wrote, “We were notified by Authentic Brands Group (ABG) that the license under which the Arena Group operates the Sports Illustrated (SI) brand and SI related properties has been officially revoked by ABG. As a result of this license revocation, we will be laying off staff that work on the SI brand.”
“Some employees will be terminated immediately,” the statement continued, “and paid in lieu of the applicable notice period under the [the union contract]. Employees with a last working day of today will be contacted by the People team soon. Other employees will be expected to work through the end of the notice period, and will receive additional information shortly.”
Sports Illustrated staffers received this today. pic.twitter.com/Q0WdVRzuRb
— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) January 19, 2024
Mitch Goldich, the union representative for the sports magazine’s staffers, also posted a statement to X asking for Arena to continue publishing the magazine.
“We have fought together as a union to maintain the standard of this storied publication that we love, and to make sure our workers are treated fairly for the value they bring to this company. It is a fight we will continue,” Goldich wrote.
Our statement on today’s mass layoffs at Sports Illustrated pic.twitter.com/tQjJdoHP4p
— Sports Illustrated Union (@si_union) January 19, 2024
Front Office Sports added that it appears Authentic has been working to regroup its publishing empire as the industry struggles. But Sports Illustrated has had particular problems from several rounds of layoffs of key writers, to a string of turnovers of leadership, and embarrassing bouts with articles badly written by artificial intelligence.
As to the latter issue, Arena fired the magazine’s CEO Ross Levinsohn when critics pointed out that SI had published a list of articles that seemed to lack journalistic standards. Ultimately, several past articles written using AI were removed from the magazine’s website, CBS News reported in December.
The magazine has also swerved into extreme wokeism, as well.
In May, the magazine chose a male-born transgender model for its swimsuit issue when Kim Petras appeared on the magazine’s cover.
As if being a Grammy-Award winning artist and history maker wasn’t enough, Kim Petras is now adding SI Swimsuit COVER model to her list of accomplishments. https://t.co/ESSyOwdMJI
— Sports Illustrated Swimsuit (@SI_Swimsuit) May 15, 2023
Petras also appeared on the 2023 Grammys with Sam Smith to sing the song “Unholy” in a performance that was widely condemned as an exercise in Satan worshiping.
The 2023 issue was not the first time SI under Arena’s guidance put a trans model on a swimsuit cover. The magazine also chose transgender cover model Leyna Bloom in 2021.
— Sports Illustrated Swimsuit (@SI_Swimsuit) July 19, 2021
Sports Illustrated seems to be the prime example of “go woke, go broke” with its continued bow to the far left agenda. And the magazine’s troubles seem to be multiplying. If it makes it until this August, the magazine will turn 70 years old, but right now it seems doubtful the magazine will reach that milestone.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.