Skip to content

More Sports Illustrated AI Fallout, as CEO Is Sacked

The shock waves from Sports Illustrated’s unethical use of AI-generated content, which last week led to some top-level executives at the media outlet’s parent company being canned, have apparently claimed an even bigger victim.

That news came yesterday as The Arena Group, which publishes SI, fired its CEO, Ross Levinsohn. In a statement, the company did not mention the recent AI fiasco and said the move was made “to improve the operational efficiency and revenue of the company,” but we can all connect the dots.

Earlier in his career, Levinsohn faced multiple workplace accusations of sexual harassment and creating a “frat house environment.” Although an internal review cleared him, he admitted under oath that he ranked the “hotness” of female colleagues and openly speculated about whether one female co-worker had a side job as a stripper and/or had slept with another co-worker. That didn’t keep The Arena Group from letting him serve as their CEO — until now.

Levinsohn will be replaced on an interim basis by The Arena Group’s majority owner, Manoj Bhargava, who purchased a 65% stake in the company in August after making his fortune as the founder of the dietary supplement 5-Hour Energy. As you may recall, Bhargava introduced himself to the SI newsroom last week in a “meandering video call” in which he reportedly insulted the staff and went off on a rant about recycling.

Neil Leifer could not be reached for comment.

Comments (13)

    Aw geez … don’t I feel stupid! I thought Leifer had passed on.

    That said, Nack’s description of the disastrous Breeders Cup in the late ‘80s (Timely Writer) has stuck with me to this day.

    I have a book of Neil Leifer baseball photography and I love it. Look at what the mag he used to work for has become…

    SI continues to circle the drain. Heartbreaking for this man of a certain age. Remember getting SI for Christmas was my ultimate gift in the early 80s. Opening that envelope with the card inside announcing SI was on the way for the entire year. Sigh.

    So sad what happened to SI. Fond memories of SI issues from when I was a kid in the 80’s. My first issue had Martina N on the cover after she won the 83 US open. I couldn’t wait for it to arrive every Thursday.

    Not only was SI terrific from a sports viewpoint, as strictly a magazine it was superb. The design, layout, and clever captioning were unparalleled.

    As a young do-it-all editor of a small trade magazine, I borrowed/stole many of SI’s design concepts and I gotta say, my little mag looked pretty good.

    I was mostly a medical editor. The first mag I worked on was a state association publication for pharmacists. (Later I worked on some general medicine publications, which were pretty buttoned down and didn’t call for much creativity.) But the association mag covered legal, business, and socials issues and topics other than straight pharmacy, and I had pretty free rein on that one. It was fun.

Comments are closed.