Sara Hammel had worked with People Magazine for more than 14 years.
“Dear People Magazine,” Hammel wrote to editorial director, Jess Cagle and other editorial bosses. “I quit. It’s not me, it’s you. It’s been a wildly dysfunctional 14 years, and you’re an entirely different magazine than when we first got together.”
The now freelance writer took direct aim at the culture of People, who have over the years, rejected Hammel and her work for the publication.
Check out some of the People Magazine covers: are they just pretty on the outside? Images via Facebook. (Post continues after gallery.)
“I swear half the current staff doesn’t know my name, despite my contribution to something like fifteen hundred stories in your celebrity annals, so here’s a refresher: I worked inside your London, Los Angeles and New York bureaus, covered breaking news in nine countries, and dealt with too many celebrities to remember.”
Being a celeb reporter may sound like the dream, but Hammel was treated like dirt by many, including being spat on by J-Lo.
“In between, there were memorable encounters galore, including making the gorgeous and empathic Mariska Hargitay ugly-cry (turns out she cries at like every charity-related event, phew), enduring an Oscar winner’s public bullying over an intimate dinner, facing a personal crisis at Tom Cruise’s wedding in Rome, getting basically, kind of spat on by a snotty J. Lo.”
Among other things, she had to witness how “stiff and awkard” George Clooney is around children, but was also sexually harrassed by a very prominent man.
Watch Amy Schumer rip apart women’s magazines. (Post continues after video.)
“[I was] groped/harrassed by an A-list [omitted] performer in New York and Paris (that’s not to be flip—it was violating as hell. I’m still pissed I didn’t jab him in the balls with my pen).”
Despite the brutal words Hammel had to say about the people she had to interview, by far she was the most critical of People.
“This is just what the entitled stars and their bat—t crazy publicists put me and many other talented, hard-working reporters through. You people, as it turns out, are worse. Stupidly, we expect loyalty and support from you after years of service.
We are naïve. Despite your nicey nice, glossy and chirpy veneer, some of us think of you more as the Leo DiCaprio of magazines, using up every beautiful model that crosses your path (“beautiful model”= “award-winning journalist” in this scenario), discarding them, and pretending you leave no wake behind you.
“…I’ve survived something like eight rounds of layoffs where talented colleagues were bitch-slapped into oblivion and, I hope, will never give their nights, weekends, relationships and sanity again to keep up with an email chain about whether Jennifer Aniston is pregnant at 47 because of those tummy photos and what kind of mom will she be, when really she just had an extra burrito at lunch; but oh, wait, the rep says it’s just a rumor so there’s no story this week after all.”
Before ending her letter, Hammel fired one last shot at People.
“I’ll leave you with the kicker:
“As I was crafting this letter, a Tweet came through from one of your top editors, Kate Coyne, crowing about her full-page People feature promoting her brand-new book, accompanied by a colorful screenshot. “Don’t ask how, but I got in touch with someone at @people—now I’m in the new issue. So grateful!”
“You should be, Kate. Enjoy it while it lasts.
This is an edited version of Sara Hammel’s resignation letter, from her book – Red Carpet Regret: Confessions of a cynical celebrity journalist.