Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Reply All's P.J. Vogt departs series amid The Test Kitchen pushback

Reply All co-host P.J. Vogt
Reply All co-host P.J. Vogt
Screenshot: YouTube

Last year, the Condé Nast-owned Bon Appétit found itself hit with a reckoning of sorts, after numerous staffers of color—including Priya Krishna, Sohla El-Waylly, Rick Martinez, Gaby Melian, Molly Baz, and Carla Lalli Music—departed its popular Test Kitchen series of videos over accusations of lower pay compared to white colleagues, tokenization, stolen credit, and more. The scandal revealed a great deal about the inner workings and power differentials in a site that often strove to portray its staffers as a group of mutually respectful colleagues all just hanging out in the kitchen together, and highlighted disparities in power and pay throughout the site’s organization.

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Now a different, but related, Test Kitchen is finding itself undergoing similar scrutiny, as Vulture reports that Sruthi Pinnamaneni and P.J. Vogt, a senior reporter and host, respectively, for the Reply All podcast, are stepping away from the series after their reporting on Bon Appétit brought to light similar issues at their own Spotify-owned Gimlet Media. Specifically, Eric Eddings, a former Gimlet staffer and co-host of The Nod podcast, outlined in a Twitter thread earlier this week a number of ways Vogt and Pinnamaneni, who covered Bon Appétit through their The Test Kitchen Spotify miniseries, were allegedly obstructive to efforts to diversify Gimlet’s staff, specifically during the period in which the company’s employees were pushing to unionize. Among other things, Eddings wrote that, “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.” He went on to detail a number of instances in which Vogt and Pinnamaneni pushed back against organizing and diversification efforts.

Both Vogt and Pinnamaneni have issued apologies in light of Eddings’ statements; while Pinnamaneni was already planning to depart Reply All after The Test Kitchen miniseries, she has now left the show mid-production. Meanwhile, Vogt, who co-hosts Reply All with Alex Goldman and Emmanuel Dzotsi, has stated that he is going to “step away” from the podcast, with Vulture reporting that his departure from the series will be “permanent.” Gimlet Media has yet to issue a statement on the departures.