Half the staff at Atlanta Magazine have resigned after publisher Sean McGinnis complained about using correct pronouns in coverage, according to the Washington Post.
“Are we, as a matter of fact, now writing stories based upon preferred pronouns?” McGinnis asked during a recorded June meeting, referring to a profile recently published about a labor organizer whose pronouns are they/them.
When an editor responded saying that using the pronouns corresponding with a subject’s gender identity is standard journalistic practice, McGinnis disagreed, saying, “People will think that that is taking a stance.” He subsequently requested to approve editorial content ahead of publication.
According to the Washington Post, this interaction represented a tipping point in a “small-scale culture war” happening within the magazine for the past several years, a “crackdown” on coverage that management deemed too progressive. Thus, three of six full-time editorial staffers have resigned, and the editor-in-chief announced plans to retire at the end of the year.
“Any journalist … would feel challenged to work in a place where the line between the edit side and the business side is as eroded as it’s become this year,” deputy editor Sam Worley wrote in his resignation letter. “That editorial independence is the bedrock of what we do, and it’s why our readers trust us.”
McGinnis has reportedly not commented on the situation.