Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Institutional Sexism At The Hearst Corporation Historically

(The following article first appeared in the 9/9/92 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative weekly newspaper, Downtown.)

Although most readers of Hearst’s Cosmopolitan are women, Cosmopolitan’s managing editor as late as 1992 was a man named Guy Flatley and its vice-president and publisher as late as 1992 was a man named Seth Hoyt. Corporate men were also well-represented at the higher levels of Hearst’s Magazine Division as late as 1992. Former Hearst Corporation President and then-Hearst Corporation Director Richard Deems was the division’s official publishing consultant as late as 1992. Cosmopolitan’s publisher for many years, a man named Donald Claeys Bahrenburg, was the president of Hearst’s Magazine Division as late as 1992. A man named K. Robert Brink was the executive vice-president of Hearst’s Magazine Division in 1992. And a man named Daniel Zucchi was the senior vice-president of Hearst’s Magazine Division in 1992.

[In 2008, a man named George Green is still the president and CEO of Hearst Magazines International, an executive vice-president of Hearst Magazines and a Vice-President of the Hearst Corporation, Hearst Holdings Inc. and Hearst Communications Inc.. A man named Michael Clinton is also still an executive vice-president, chief marketing officer and publicity director of Hearst Magazines in 2008. Another man named John Loughlin is also still an executive vice-president and general manager of Hearst Magazines in 2008.]

At the top levels of the Hearst media conglomerate, men also predominated as late as 1992. Eighteen of the 20 members of the Hearst Corporation’s Board of Directors were men in 1990 and its then-Chairman of the Board, president and CEO were all then men. The then-Hearst Corporation president, for example, was a man named Frank Bennack and the then-Hearst Corporation executive vice-president was a man named Gilbert Maurer. Both men were paid over $1 million per year in salary by the parent company of Cosmopolitan in 1990. [In 2008, men also predominate at the top levels of the Hearst media conglomerate and Frank Bennack is still the Hearst Corporation CEO, chairman of the Executive Committee of the Hearst Corporation’s Board of Directors and the Vice-Chairman of the Hearst Corporation’s Board of Directors. And a male member of the Hearst Dynasty, George Hearst Jr., is, of course, still the current Chairman of the Board of the Hearst Corporation’s Board of Directors in 2008.]

Former Hearst Magazine Division President Bahrenburg used to sell ad space for Rolling Stone magazine in the 1970s as an associate publisher, before becoming a Hearstling in the 1980s. Although the then-45-year-old Bahrenbug was a man, he was the person in 1992 who—on behalf of the Hearst family—still hired and fired the editors of Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, Redbook and Harper’s Bazaar magazines. Bahrenburg had grown up in Montclair, New Jersey and had attended Ithaca College and NYU during the 1960s.

Cosmopolitan’s then-managing editor, Guy Flatley, was not interested in speaking to Downtown about the role Hearst managers play at Cosmopolitan when Downtown telephoned him in August 1992. After Downtown telephoned Flatley’s office a second time in August 1992, his assistant or secretary reported that Mr. Flatley felt Downtown’s question should be answered by Cosmopolitan’s then-editor, Helen Gurley-Brown.

But when Downtown telephoned then-Cosmopolitan editor Helen Gurley-Brown’s office in August 1992, it was told by Gurley-Brown’s secretary that the then-Cosmopolitan editor “wished to lay low as far as any article on Hearst” was concerned and did not wish to characterize the role of Hearst managers at Cosmopolitan for Downtown readers. Her secretary speculated that Gurley-Brown’s reluctance to speak with Downtown “might have something to do with New York magazine running an article on Hearst” in its July 27, 1992 issue.

(Downtown 9/9/92)

Next: Cosmopolitan’s Good Housekeeping Connection Historically