As media companies continue to be called out for their lack of diversity, lifestyle website Man Repeller has found itself in hot water over its lack of diversity and its response to the civil rights issues and protests going on around the United States today. As a result, Man Repeller founder Leandra Medine Cohen has said that she will be taking a step back from her role at the company.
“Man Repeller was founded to celebrate self expression in all of its forms but it has become clear that I’ve failed to deliver on this mission,” Cohen wrote in an Instagram post. “The team deserves a chance to show you what Man Repeller can be with me on the sidelines so I’m going to step back and let them show you.”
In the post Cohen says she founded Man Repeller to celebrate self-expression in all of its forms, but it has become clear she has "failed to deliver" on that mission. “The team deserves a chance to show you what Man Repeller can be with me on the sidelines so I’m going to step back and let them show you,” she said in her post, declining to elaborate further on what changes will be made behind the scenes.
The post where Cohen announced she would step back follows a June 1 post on Man Repeller discussing responding to the Black Lives Matter movement and the protests going on around the nation. In the post Cohen said she would continue to support underrepresented voices in media and combat racism.
Twitter users began taking Man Repeller to task for their feelings regarding Man Repeller's lack of diversity. “Hiring POC and bringing them into a workplace rooted in white supremacy norms is not helping. You need to reflect on your own complicit actions,” one Twitter user commented on the post. “Why have all your Black and POC staff left/been fired? How do you prioritize wealth over people? Based on your actions thus far, this isn’t commitment — it’s public relations.”
Cohen also came under fire for the minority employees she laid off during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, including Crystal Anderson, who was a very popular writer for the site, and Sabrina Santiago, who says she saw Man Repeller's apology as a slap in the face and she has not been reached out to in any capacity by the publication since being let go.
In a statement on Wednesday following all of the backlash, Cohen said, "You were right — even though I’ve been able to write so intimately about every other experience of my life over the past decade, I’ve fallen short here,” Medine continued in her Wednesday post. “That’s because this is more than just an exploration of my feelings. It’s my ignorance. Ignorance is part of the problem. Separately, Man Repeller and I will be part of the solution.”