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Popular podcast ‘Reply All’ discontinues controversial miniseries ‘The Test Kitchen’

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Gimlet Media will not continue its podcast miniseries “The Test Kitchen.”
(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

In a new “Reply All” episode, Alex Goldman, one of the longtime hosts of the popular Gimlet Media podcast, apologized to listeners of “The Test Kitchen” and announced that the recent miniseries will not continue amid scrutiny of Gimlet’s work environment.

“We now understand that we should never have published the series as reported. And the fact that we did was a systemic editorial failure,” Goldman said in a two-minute message posted Thursday morning.

The decision comes after a former Gimlet staffer accused two members of the “Reply All” team of creating a “toxic dynamic” at the company. Eric Eddings’ allegations went viral on Twitter earlier this month and prompted the departures of host PJ Vogt and senior reporter Sruthi Pinnamaneni.

“I and the entire team know that making ‘Reply All,’ getting to tell people stories for a living, is a huge privilege,” Goldman said in Thursday’s announcement. “We also know that we’ve let a lot of people down and made a lot of mistakes. We’re very sorry for our many failings. We’re sorry to our colleagues and our former colleagues that we hurt. We’re sorry to you, our listeners.

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“And, of course, we’re sorry to the people who spoke to us for ‘The Test Kitchen,’ who shared their extremely personal stories with us,” Goldman added.

Podcast ‘Reply All’ launched a buzzy series on racial bias at Bon Appétit. But it led to revelations about similar problems at parent company Gimlet Media.

“The Test Kitchen,” which was planned to span four episodes, detailed the structural racism and toxic work environment at the food magazine Bon Appétit. The third episode was slated to cover the publication’s video team. However, Eddings’ Feb. 16 Twitter thread alleged that the people behind “Reply All” were responsible for creating a similarly toxic workplace at Gimlet.

Goldman said that after an internal debate, the company decided “The Test Kitchen” episodes will remain published because “we don’t want to bury our failure.” The episodes now have a disclaimer containing an apology.

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He added, “We plan to find a way to get to the bottom of what went wrong here, both with the series and with our show. And once we fully understand it ourselves, we also want to tell you as best we can what happened.”

Eddings, who hosted the Gimlet Media podcast “The Nod” with Brittany Luse until October, told The Times last week that Pinnamaneni, who had hosted “The Test Kitchen,” reached out to him because she wanted to discuss on the show Gimlet’s own workplace reckoning.

“It was upsetting just because it really actually brought up a lot,” he said. Eddings then listened to the series and decided to tweet about his experiences at Gimlet because he felt that people interviewed for “The Test Kitchen” may not be aware of how people of color at Gimlet were treated.

“I didn’t feel confident that the sources knew everything that happened before they shared,” he said. “It felt like I had context that people didn’t, and that if I was in their situation — which I was — I would want that context.”


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