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.