Hearst Magazines has requested its employees to tell on their coworkers if they make “controversial” social media posts, which comes a month after the editor-in-chief of the Hearst-owned Harper’s Bazaar posted remarks about the ongoing Israel-Gaza war.
On Wednesday, Hearst — which is also the parent company of Cosmopolitan and Town and Country — sent its workers an email detailing the new social media policy. The mandate comes after split opinions on Israel-Gaza-Palestine arose online, following Palestinian Islamist group Hamas’ attack on Israel on Oct. 7.
“We should be careful to consider the impact that a controversial statement on a hot-button issue may have on Hearst’s reputation,” the policy read, per reports. The message encouraged employees to sign the document to confirm their understanding.
The email also urged employees to report colleagues who weren’t abiding by the policy or anything else that could potentially “impact the reputation or objectivity of Hearst Magazines.” According to the Washington Post, a union statement called the request “a frighteningly authoritarian flourish.”
In October, Samira Nasr, the editor-in-chief of Hearst fashion magazine Harper’s Bazaar stated in an Instagram post that the Israelis’ move to cut off water and power for the Gaza Strip “the most inhuman thing” she’d ever seen in her life, which resulted an uproar online and a company pledge to donate $300,000 to charities in the area.
In response, a union for Hearst employees urged workers to not participate in signing the policy on Monday.
“The union for Hearst employees, Hearst Magazines Media Union, took to Twitter over the new policy. Attention all Hearsties: Today, @Hearst Magazines released a social media policy that restricts our speech on our private social channels. Do not sign it! The @WGAEast legal team is looking it over and will be in touch about what comes next,” the post wrote.
Attention all Hearsties: Today, @Hearst Magazines released a social media policy that restricts our speech on our private social channels. Do not sign it! The @WGAEast legal team is looking it over and will be in touch about what comes next
— Hearst Magazines Media Union (@HearstUnion) November 6, 2023
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