Reply All host PJ Vogt steps down over toxic workplace, racism claims

The co-host of popular tech podcast Reply All has stepped down after being accused of creating a “toxic dynamic” for people of colour.

PJ Vogt has asked to immediately step away as host, and said he acted like a “baby and a jerk”, after a former colleague accused him of fostering an aggressive work culture.

On Wednesday, Eric Eddings, a former staff member from Reply All’s parent company, Gimlet Media, accused Vogt of creating a hostile environment and attempting to sabotage union efforts to diversify the podcast.

Eddings, host of his own podcast, The Nod, claimed Vogt and fellow Reply All host and producer Sruthi Pinnamaneni tried to block a push to diversify and unionise the company. He said the hosts banded together with management and formed to “cudgel” against staff.

Eddings claimed he saw “harassing messages” from Vogt and heard him “denigrate other colleagues”.

Reply All is widely considered one of the world’s most successful podcasts – the podcast covers internet culture, hacking, privacy and other online curios.

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Eddings wrote the lengthy thread at the same time Reply All released a bombshell podcast series detailing a culture of discrimination at US magazine and online publication Bon Appetit (BA).

BA made headlines in June 2020, after a photo of its editor-in-chief Adam Rapoport surfaced showing him in brownface. Reply All’s podcast series includes a number of former staff members alleging they were treated poorly, compared to white staffers.

During Pinnamaneni’s coverage of BA, she reflected she’d not actively participated in unionising her own workplace. She said reporting on the culture at BA made her regret this.

However, Eddings alleges in a lengthy tweet thread the podcast hosts actively campaigned against the union.

“The BA staffers’ stories deserve to be told, but to me it’s damaging to have that reporting and storytelling come from two people who have actively and AGGRESSIVELY worked against multiple efforts to diversify Gimlet’s staff & content,” he wrote.

“I’ve talked to PJ multiple times asking him to do more to contribute to diversity efforts at the company. Asking him to join the diversity group. To lend a voice when I spoke up at staff meetings. Anything to show the staff that he cared about the issue.”

In another tweet, Eddings alleges Pinnamaneni asked Vogt to tell him he was a “piece of sh*t” in a meeting.


Vogt responded to the controversy on Thursday, apologising for his actions. He said he’d “asked for the team’s permission to step away from Reply All”.

“I deeply failed as an ally during the unionisation era at Gimlet. I did not intend to stop the unionisation effort, and I am very glad it succeeded,” he said.

“Today they have my support in however I can lend it. But at the time, I was a baby and a jerk about it in myriad ways. Reflecting on my behaviour, I find it humiliating.”

Vogt continued that he should have “reflected on what it meant to not be on the same side of a movement largely led by young producers of colour at my company”.

Producer Pinnamaneni also apologised on Twitter, saying her conduct had been “ignorant” and “hurtful”.

“My conduct around the diversity and union organisation efforts at Gimlet was ill-informed, ignorant and hurtful.

“I did not pay enough attention to the people of colour with less power at Gimlet and I should have used my power to support and elevate them further.”

An internal email from Gimlet appeared to confirm Vogt will take a leave of absence from Reply All. The email was shared on Twitter by Vulture reporter Nick Quah.

The email also stated Pinnamaneni’s podcast series on BA was planned to be her last work on the podcast. The company said it would make further decisions about the podcast series Pinnamaneni had been presenting in the coming days.

The email claimed she’d be moved onto other projects within Gimlet.

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