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.
The BA staffers’ stories deserve to be told, but to me it’s damaging to have that reporting and storytelling come from two people who have actively and AGGRESSIVELY worked against multiple efforts to diversify Gimlet’s staff & content. A bit of background.
Reply All was/is an island at Gimlet. It’s the brand’s biggest show. And it showed in resources and power. When they spoke, the company listened. But they rarely exercised this power beyond the scope of their team. It was a clique.
I’ve talked to PJ multiple times asking him to do more to contribute to diversity efforts at the company. Asking him to join the diversity group. To lend a voice when I spoke up at staff meetings. Anything to show the staff that he cared about the issue.
His response was always that he liked that RA was perceived as a clique or club and that he cared about diversity but would have to think more about how he could get involved beyond his team.
When Gimlet unionized, many POC’s felt that it was their last chance at creating an environment within Gimlet where they could succeed. I joined the organizing committee. We put together a robust list of demands related to working conditions, equity, freelancers, diversity, & IP
When RA came up, many pointed out that PJ and Alex G had some of the closest, deepest relationships to management. A lot of folks simply didn’t know them. The folks who DID know them didn’t feel comfortable pushing back on the fears of others.
So RA found out about the effort last. They were pissed. The team led by PJ, Sruthi, and Alex G used their weight as a cudgel against our efforts at voluntary recognition. Sruthi personally held an Anti-union meeting, trying to rally people against it.
I’ve personally seen harassing messages sent by PJ to other Organizing Committee members. Heard him denigrate other colleagues. He and I had a meeting, where I begged him simply not to attack the union.
He told me he was slacking with Sruthi and that she had “called me a piece of shit and asked him to tell me.” I told him that we weren’t going to disrespect each other. He said “Well let me stop slacking with Sruthi.”
We went back and forth, I told him specific stories about POC who felt they had been discriminated against, the countless people who felt they had no pathway to promotion and the full scope of what we wanted to achieve. He wasn’t moved.
I tried telling him about my own experiences here. How someone in senior leadership told me that they hadn’t worked with me on diversity issues because I seemed too angry. He didn’t comment on the diversity part, but made sure to tell me that I had in fact seemed angry.
The union drive was weakened but ultimately succeeded. Alex Goldman is now on the bargaining committee and fwiw I’ve been told he’s been a staunch ally since. But Pj and Sruthi producing and editing this series is A LOT.
They weren’t obligated to support me, diversity efforts at Gimlet, or the union. I haven’t spoken to Sruthi since the POS comment. I saw PJ last fall and we had a fairly civil conversation. His first words to me were “You were right about the union.”
But it was so triggering to hear the words of people who have suffered like me from people who caused that suffering to me and others.
The focus should be on BA and what they experienced, but this series feels like an effort to rehabilitate themselves in the eyes of colleagues at Spotify and the ones who have left.
PJ sent an apology to the Union just last week. Sruthi sent me an email. Not an apology but wanted to chat on the phone. I’ve been told she wanted me to talk to her for this series, which is RICH.
That time was INFINITELY hard for me. There’s more but this is already long. I don’t know what happens next. I’m annoyed that I have to talk about this. There are some producers at RA whose work I cherish. I’m not asking you to stop listening to their show.
But I’ve always felt that if you have a platform and any sort of power it’s your duty to use that in service of others and to tell the truth. So I felt the need to speak up so that they tell the whole of it.

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