Claudia Eller, co-Editor-in-Chief of Variety, is taking a two month administrative leave from the magazine after engaging in a public twitter spat in which she called a young writer of color “bitter.” The spat began when Piya Sinha-Roy, a freelance journalist, responded to an article Eller recently wrote for Variety entitled “Reflecting Diverse Voices Starts in the News Room,” about the importance of diversity in media spaces. Sinha-Roy quote tweeted the article pointing out the hypocrisy in Eller’s stance, writing, “No, @Variety_Claudia, you haven’t done enough, and nor have most other EICs. I remember speaking with you and @awallenstein years ago about the lack of diversity in your newsroom. POC voices are constantly dismissed. We are not here to make you look better. We are here to work.” Eller responded to Sinha-Roy’s tweet, writing, “When something cops to something why would you try and criticize them? You sound really bitter.” Calling a person of color bitter for speaking openly about their experience? Not a great look.
The two continued to exchanged words on Twitter, with Eller clearly hurt by Sinha-Roy’s insistence that she and Variety need to do better. After Sinha-Roy expressed frustration at Eller calling her bitter and said that she would like to see more POC in the Variety newsroom, Eller responded twice, writing “Thank [sick] you shouldn’t diss someone who has hired minority journalists but admits she needs to hire more” and then following that up with the clarification “When I said you sound bitter that’s not what I was referring to” without providing any further context as to what she was referring to. At a certain point, Eller decided she was “Done with this” and shut down the discourse with Sinha-Roy, stating “Let’s all go outside at 9pm tonight and shine a light in the sky for George Floyd.” Ok. While Eller takes her leave of absence, former co-editor-in-chief of Variety Cynthia Littleton will step into her role. What is going on in newsrooms these days?