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Workin’ for the Weekend #67: Whoops! Did We Cost Josh Szeps His Job?
Also: Reason videos galore!
“ABC Sydney loses its best broadcaster as Josh Szeps quits live on air,” went the headline this week at the Aussie version of Mediaweek. It was a pretty good quitting, too—take a listen. Then, watch other Aussie media people do their funny things with the English language on television about it (beginning at the 1:40 mark):
Sky News found the important Fifth Column smoking gun:
An ABC radio host has quit live on air citing the “penalties for speaking bluntly”, weeks after he revealed a fellow journalist at the public broadcaster had threatened to get him fired. […]
[T]he announcement of his departure comes just weeks after he revealed a fellow unnamed ABC journalist had threatened to get him fired unless he took down an episode of his Uncomfortable Conversations podcast.
Speaking on popular US podcast The Fifth Column, Szeps said he “just had to take down a podcast episode under threat of cancellation by a guest” noting it was “the first time I’ve done that”.
Szeps said he had invited the guest on his podcast so they could “actually have a conversation like grown ups” after she was “basically trolling me and trying to get Black Twitter to cancel me”.
“I thought it worked. Then some weeks later, she had a change of heart about it,” the ABC host said.
“She sent me an email – she works for the same organization that I work for – and she said that she just had a meeting with the managing director (David Anderson).
“She just had a meeting with him and he is, and I quote, 'committed to getting problematic people out of the organization, so take it down'.”
Szeps said the “threat” from the unnamed journalist was not something she can actually act on, “because I know the managing director and he likes me.”
“But of course I can't be certain… also cancel culture works in funny ways; like he's not going to fire me because I haven't done anything wrong,” he said.
“However, the next time there's a big show that's being cast or when it comes time to negotiate contracts or pay or something like that, is there just this kind of smell around the place?
“How many people do you need in the building to think ‘oh, you know Josh, he's all about his f***king uncomfortable conversations. He causes trouble. He's not a team player. He creates a stir’.”
You can listen to Josh-o talk about the takedown kerf(l)uffle in question beginning at the 22:45 mark of Episode #423, released on Oct. 2. Previous appearances by one of Fifdom’s very favorite guests can be found in #25, #80, #103, #117, #196, and #328. Here’s his email to us lads: “Off to the independent podosphere. And we have the fifth column to thank! Feeling liberated. I’ll come back for a victory tour in the new year.” And yes, that is your cue to sign up for Josh’s Uncomfortable Conversations Substack, right the hell now!
* As he unsubtly reminded us at the end of #430, Kmele really does love the latest installment of his great Dispatches from The Well series, in which our hero goes deep inside the Santa Fe Institute, where “the globe’s smartest minds are researching across disciplines, cultures, and schools of thought to answer the biggest questions in science and philosophy.”
* Hey man, I do videos too! Or better said, I read stuff into a camera that my fab Reason colleagues then make really good quick video products out of, in this case about the absolutely heinous and largely ignored free speech case that produced a verdict of sorts this week:
* Speaking of Reason videos, I cannot recommend highly enough this discussion (that I attended at a Fif’ listener’s fab SoHo digs!) between Nick Gillespie (Special Dispatch #72, #379) and Coleman Hughes (#121, #144, #181, #188, #201, #379, #412). They cover Coleman’s recent TED troubles, a whole lotta Israel/Hamas, and the themes of his pre-orderable book The End of Race Politics: Arguments for a Colorblind America. “I'm under no illusion that humanity will completely eradicate the racial tribal instinct or racism or bigotry itself,” our still-too-young friend says. “But I feel that colorblindness is the North Star that we should use when making decisions.”
* Screw it, yet another Reason vid, this time a rare audiovisual performance of The Reason Roundtable podcast, as performed in front of a live studio audience at Reason D.C. HQ Nov. 11. Featuring the usual lineup of me, Nick, Peter Suderman, and Katherine Mangu-Ward (#75, #395):
* Feels like we need to stuff all the Fifiverse Israel/Hamas-related content of note into one big linktastic paragraph. Deep breath…. As mentioned on the Members Only #189 Zoom-cast, listener Amir Pars has a banger of Substack essay out, titled “Confessions of a Former Antisemite.” Douglas Murray (#390) was one of the first journalists to get inside the Shifa hospital in Gaza after the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) took it. Bari Weiss (#89, #115, #159, #180, #187) gave a much-discussed keynote address at The Federalist Society annual to-do. Zach Weissmueller and Liz Wolfe landed the great EconTalker and Israel resident Russ Roberts for the Reason Livestream. The Ask a Jew gals got known young person Blake Flayton to give a little war-correspondetry from the campus trenches.
* Coming meatspace events include a Nov. 27 NYC screening of the 30-minute Reason documentary Bitcoin, Bathhouses, and the Future of Energy, at which Nick Gillespie will jawbone with Zach Weissmueller, Alex Gladstein, and Jason Goodman.
* Comment of the Week comes from Dave Austin:
Hey all, listening to the discussion about Carlos and the other German and Italian left wing terrorist groups, you noted there’s not a lot on the Japanese Red Army. Allow me to highly recommend a 2007 movie by the fascinating Japanese auteur director Koji Wakamatsu (who in ‘70 personally shot a documentary in Beirut among the Red Army and PFLP) called United Red Army, which is an absolutely grueling depiction of hazing, schisming, and in-fighting in the group culminating in an infamous police siege. It’s a hell of a movie.
Walkoff music, which you can find on my seemingly annual seasonal affective disorder playlist, actually comes via the Neverending Text String from Kmele, who asked: “Is this Yacht Rock? It’s about sailing….If Christopher Cross qualifies, they should too.”