Brittany Kaplan has accused the fired top editor of Entertainment Weekly, JD Heyman, of joking about the Holocaust and engaging in racist and sexist behavior in a lawsuit against the magazine and its owner DotDash Meredith.
Among the other allegations in the lawsuit filed Tuesday by Kaplan, EW’s senior editor, Heyman is said to have called singer Jewel “snaggletooth” while insulting her for being previously homeless. Kaplan also says Heyman argued against including black talent in EW’s Black History Month issue because he wanted the cover to be “lighthearted.” The lawsuit also claims that Entertainment Weekly tried to keep the complaints against Heyman out of the public eye.
Kaplan shared many other allegations that Heyman mishandled EW covers. She says she made unspecified jokes about him Holocaust ”and intentionally ignored Kristen Stewart’s request not to appear on the cover of the June 2020 Pride Month magazine. Kaplan also says Heyman” torpedoed “a possible Ryan Reynolds cover” because Mr. Reynolds wanted him to his various co-stars were on the cover with him. “
“As the wave of civil unrest flooded the United States in the summer of 2020, Mr. Reynolds graciously attempted to use his fame to amplify the name, image and likeness of his various co-stars,” the lawsuit states. “Messrs. Heyman stated that the cover would be too complicated to carry out with the three stars.”
Instead, the cover “featured six white people” and a member of the BIPOC community.
Later that year, Heyman put the late Chadwick Boseman on an EW cover “at the express objection of his family representative,” the lawsuit alleges.
Kaplan says it “filed several internal complaints” about Heyman’s behavior. While no action was taken against Heyman at the time, Kaplan says she was “sidelined and stripped of virtually all of her responsibilities” and “denied a promised title promotion and pay raise.”
“Today’s presentation is the unfortunate result of not only EW’s alleged discriminatory and retaliatory conduct, but also its utter unwillingness to take responsibility for its conduct,” said Kaplan’s attorney, Michael Willemin, a partner at Wigdor LLP, in a statement Wednesday. “Em. Kaplan has tried for years to resolve the issue of today’s lawsuit without reaching litigation, but her internal complaints, including those made after we were hired to represent her, fell on deaf ears. Therefore, the Ms. Kaplan had no choice but to bring this action and hopes that EW will engage in the introspection necessary to remedy the continuing errors described in the complaint. “
A representative for Entertainment Weekly and DotDash Meredith did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.
Last year, Heyman was fired after several senior employees filed complaints with the company’s human resources department accusing Heyman of creating a hostile workplace by disparaging staff and making “inappropriate” and “racially insensitive” comments.
According to multiple people with knowledge of the events, at least eight senior EW employees joined together to file complaints in recent months and several documented their case with emails and recordings.
Tensions had been building at EW for some time. A former Meredith employee who worked with Heyman told TheWrap that Heyman’s straightforward management style created an immediate “culture shock” from the moment he took over as editor-in-chief of EW in June 2019 from the darling. editor Henry Goldblatt. The individual said staff felt a “whiplash” from Heyman’s “cynical” behavior following Goldblatt’s more “serious” approach.