Last week it was a $15 million wrongful termination lawsuit claiming a senior executive repeatedly expressed an anti-America, anti-Semitic and anti-woman bias plus the exits of the EVPs for Human Resources and Communications that hit the Qatar-backed news network. Today, another top executive headed for the door at Al Jazeera America, just as CEO Ehab Al Shihabi called allegations of such discrimination at the company “absurd.”
Mary McGinnis told staff in an email Monday that she has decided to resign because she could not “support the decisions or direction set forth by him (Shihabi) and the Al Jazeera Media Network would be welcome to leave.” The veteran CBS News employee joined AJAM as SVP of Newsgathering in July 2013 just before its August launch. McGinnis became SVP of Corporate Outreach for AJAM back in March. TV Newser posted her email to the company earlier today.
Shihabi and other Al Jazeera America brass would not discuss McGinnis’ leaving in any detail during a conference call today except to confirm it. And they would not touch the topic of the lawsuit by their former Supervisor of Media and Archive Management Matthew Luke at all. “We are not entitled to do any comment on the case from a legal perspective,” said the network’s CEO.
On April 28, just after Luke’s lawsuit landed, it was announced that EVP’s Diana Lee and Dawn Bridges were leaving AJAM. At the time, the company said it was their decisions and they were not fired because of the legal action the already struggling channel had just seen go public.
Now it appears that they got while the getting was good and this trio of exits will likely not be the last, sources say. “Two years in, some realities have set in and a number of staffers are feeling that what they signed up for is not the place they are working at,” said one insider. “It’s not a happy place and everybody knows it.”