They walk among us: the abusers and harassers in the media and journalism

No names, no pack-drill.


They walk among us. They are editors and executives. They are ordinary hacks. They walk among us; lauded and exalted with good roles and pay rises; moved when they make yet another ‘mistake’. They are the sharp-toothed parasites of the media — the harassers, the abusers, the shouters, throwers, rowers, patronisers, and sexual harassers. 

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There are people in journalism and the wider media who are notorious. Their names skitter across DMs and Signal chats. Stories of their banal evil and their real crimes sometimes bubble up into Private Eye, but they remain protected by executives, who are happy as long as “line goes up” (trademark Trashfuture). 

I am talking of the national newspaper editor who chastised a young employee for making a mistake by loudly mimicking his speech impediment in an open plan newsroom. The same editor who told many colleagues about a woman he wanted to fuck, who he later hired as a section editor. This man is a bully known to the whole industry, and yet he gets ‘results’ for the owners so he stays, traveling in the normal times to sell the vision to Saudi investors. 

Lower down the chain at another newspaper, I am talking about the serial harasser of female colleagues and interns, who was not fired but moved to the sports desk, creeprantined. His tweets mysteriously all deleted one day, rumour has it at the request of more senior editors tired of him continually embarrassing “the brand”, as if harassment and the paucity of women on the sports desk is not embarrassment enough. 

I am speaking of the editorial director at a major newspaper group who rules the roost with a mix of intimidation and outright bullying. A person who was hired from a notoriously unpleasant workplace precisely because they have a reputation as a whip-hand, a shouter, a phone thrower, a door breaker. 

The columnist who has a growing list of accusations about his sweaty-handed groping habit comes to mind. As his name pings around social media, he keeps his head down, then reappears to offer high-handed morality tales about the failings of the left. The brazenness makes the eyes of those who know pop out on stalks. 

I am talking of the lauded edgy humourist whose online bullying pushed me to the cusp of suicide and gifted me a breakdown it took years to shake off. I am talking about the comment editor who hired pretty young men and phoned them at all hours of the night to cry about his hard life. 

I am remembering the former manager at a respected political publication who bullied other women before reinventing herself as a feminist avatar of unimpeachable moral probity. 

I am speaking about our industries. So many people are. In whispers and DMs, trying to warn others about the missing stair. Media and journalism have so many missing stairs.

I am talking about the magazines and publications where I came up, but was too young and afraid to speak up. Enough.