People journalist quits after 14 years

Former Freelance Writer For ‘People Magazine’ Slams Leonardo DiCaprio In Cutting ‘I Quit’ Letter

Freelance journalist and author Sara Hammel, who has written for 14 years at People magazine, took quitting her freelance job for the publication to a whole new level by slamming the magazine in her resignation letter, as well as a number of celebrities about who she wrote over the years. The cutting letter was later published in the New York Post.

The New York Post claims that Hammel sent her letter of resignation to editorial director Jess Cagle and additional top editors at People. The letter begins “I quit. It’s not me, it’s you.” The journalist has written for the publication since 2002 and went on to say within the note that the magazine has changed for the worse over the years.

The Wrap shares details from within the letter.

“I quit. It’s not me, it’s you. It’s been a wildly dysfunctional 14 years, and you’re an entirely different magazine than when we first got together. I swear half the current staff doesn’t know my name, despite my contribution to something like fifteen hundred stories in your celebrity annals.”

Hammel doesn’t stop there. She then goes on to make specific references to celebrities who she has had a chance to interview over the years and reveals somewhat unfavorable details about a number of them while also stating that she has had many memorable encounters. Hammel mentions Mariska Hargitay’s “ugly-cry,” getting “kind of spat on by snotty J-Lo,” observing a very “awkward” and “stiff” George Clooney while the notable actor was around kids, as well as noting getting “groped/harrassed by an A-list performer,” whose name was omitted from the publication. Clearly not over the indecent groping by the unnamed performer, Hammel concluded that portion of the letter with a scenario she wished had played out following the incident.

“[I]t was violating as hell. I’m still pissed I didn’t jab him in the b**ls with my pen.”

People has declined to comment on the leaked resignation letter, which unveils some pretty distasteful details about the apparent treatment towards staff, along with the celebrities about who freelancers are expected to write. Hammel also used the opportunity to plug her latest book, writing, “Read the rest in my mini-memoir.” This reference was made in regards to her new e-book, Red Carpet Regret: Confessions of a Cynical Celebrity Journalist. So it seems that her resignation letter was one genius marketing tool that just so happened to be made public reading material.

As a wrap up of her resignation and references to a number of unpleasant, yet memorable, encounters while writing for the magazine, Hammel went on to use the ultimate metaphor in regards to People’s treatment of staff by referencing one of today’s biggest Hollywood actors in order to make her point.

“Despite your nicey nice, glossy and chirpy veneer, some of us think of you more as the Leo DiCaprio of magazines, using up every beautiful model that crosses your path [and] I’ve survived something like eight rounds of layoffs where talented colleagues were b***h-slapped into oblivion.”

It’s clear that Sara Hammel has used the letter to promote an upcoming memoir on her own terms after realizing the favoritism that had occurred on numerous occasions when she was shut down by the publication in regards to promotion of her previous books, while other staff members received full page spreads of their work.

The New York Post relays additional bits about this from the resignation letter.

“People decided to ignore—more to the point, they ignored me entirely—even after I toiled away for them for 14 years. They wouldn’t even give me a digital post that I wrote, sourced, and agreed to remove the name of my book from (LOL). That book is called The Underdogs.”

“I’ll leave you with the kicker: As I was crafting this letter, a Tweet came through from one of your top editors, Kate Coyne, crowing about her full-page People feature promoting her brand-new book, accompanied by a colorful screenshot. ‘Don’t ask how, but I got in touch with someone at @people—now I’m in the new issue. So grateful!'”

[Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images]

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