GQ deletes negative profile of Warner Bros Discovery CEO, Streisand effect kicks in

Warner Bros Discovery
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A piece about Warner Bros Discovery CEO David Zaslav disappears at speed from GQ’s website – and as a result, lots of people find it.

A really bizarre story, this. It’s little secret for those following the world of movies this year that the recently anointed CEO of Warner Bros Discover, David Zaslav, hasn’t been making too many friends. Under his watch, Warner Bros Discovery has cancelled completed movies, rebranded HBO Max as Max (and messed around with credits on that service too), and is in the midst of overseeing the sale of much of the studio’s movie music. More recently, the staff of the much loved archive cinema channel TCM was gutted too.

All of this was rounded up in a GQ article entitled ‘How Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav Became Public Enemy Number One in Hollywood’. Penned by Jason Bailey, the piece appeared briefly on the GQ website, then was quickly replaced by a toned down version, then was deleted altogether.

The disappearance of the article though may not have had the intended effect. Warner Bros Discovery’s spokesperson has admitted getting in touch with GQ, telling Variety “the freelance reporter made no attempt to reach out to Warner Bros Discovery to fact-check the substance of the piece before publishing — a standard practice for any reputable news outlet. As is also standard practice, we contacted the outlet and asked that numerous inaccuracies be corrected. In the process of doing so, the editors ultimately decided to pull the piece”.

What appears to have happened is that GQ agreed to make changes, Jason Bailey asked for his name to be taken off his piece after disagreeing with the alterations. GQ thus pulled the piece altogether, in a statement saying that “a piece published by GQ on Monday was not properly edited before going live. After a revision was published, the writer of the piece asked to have their byline removed, at which point GQ decided to unpublish the piece in question. GQ regrets the editorial error that led to a story being published before it was ready”.

The problem is that the disappearance of the piece has made it more of a must-read than if it’d stayed in tact, and it’s been archived in full here. And, wouldn’t you know it, the archived version with the edits presumably asked for is here.

The final added twist to the tale is that it turns out one of the editors at GQ, Will Welch, is producing a movie for Warner Bros Discovery. There’s no suggestion they directly intervened, it’s just not a particularly good look.

The Streisand effect is thus in force, and far more people have read an article about a Hollywood CEO than otherwise would have touched it. Funny how things work out.

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