I’ve been a fan of the podcast, Reply All, for a long time, having started listening to the show since nearly their first episode. The quality has always been excellent and many of their stories have stuck with me since listening to them.
But that appreciation was shaken a couple of years ago when Gimlet, the company that produces Reply All, responded to its staff’s unionization efforts by, essentially, giving them the middle finger. At the time, I didn’t stop listening to the show because I felt that the union would eventually be recognized. This feels like a mistake now, especially since they’re still fighting for recognition. I could and should have supported the Gimlet Union in ways other than continuing to subscribe to a Gimlet show. My presence in their podcast analytics would suggest that Gimlet’s actions are acceptable.
Then this episode popped up into my podcast feed this morning:
Given Gimlet’s actions, it wasn’t a surprise. Is it much of an apology? Eh, kind of. I appreciate that they’re taking time to evaluate themselves, but it also sounds like hosts/producers P.J. Vogt and Sruthi Pinnamaneni are just being allowed to lie low until the heat of this story wears off.
I wanted to investigate this further, so I followed the story, being led to a Twitter thread by former Gimlet employee, Eric Eddings. I encourage you to click through and read it all.
Last week I got an email from Sruthi about Reply All’s Test Kitchen series. I had been avoiding listening but once I did I felt gaslit. The truth is RA and specifically PJ and Sruthi contributed to a near identical toxic dynamic at Gimlet. This will be a longer thread, apologies.— Eric Eddings (@eeddings) February 16, 2021
This is a moving and frustrating story by someone who was ignored, passed over, and insulted by Gimlet and some members of its staff. It’s sad to know that Eric wasn’t the only one who had to deal with this institutional bullshit at Gimlet.
I’ve since unsubscribed to Reply All. It’s the most meager action I can take, but it is something. If playing a part in hitting them where it hurts—their subscriber numbers—is what I can do, then I’ll happily do it. There’s also this post, which I hope will encourage others to look into the wild power imbalance at Gimlet, understand how their people of color and pro-union employees are treated, and hold Gimlet and its founders, Alex Blumberg and Matthew Lieber, accountable for their abhorrent actions. Throw in Gimlet’s parent company, Spotify, as well. They certainly don’t appear to be doing anything to help the Gimlet Union. I also encourage you to follow the Gimlet Union on Twitter. They’re doing good work.
I enjoyed Reply All, but I can’t continue to support it when its success was built off the backs of the unrecognized and spurned. What I will continue doing is try to learn more about that of which I’m ignorant, such as I was about the toxic culture at Gimlet. And I’ll always appreciate help with that endeavor from people who know more than I do.