The media company that operates Sports Illustrated, Maxim, and financial news outlet The Street has appointed a new CEO who was previously accused of sexual harassment.
In an internal email obtained by The Daily Beast, Maven announced the promotion for Ross Levinsohn, who has been the chief executive of Sports Illustrated since the magazine was taken over by the media company. The organization also announced a new funding round with investment firm B. Riley Financial. As NPR reported in 2018, “Levinsohn was sued in separate sexual harassment lawsuits as an executive at two different corporations. By his own sworn testimony, Levinsohn admitted to rating the relative ‘hotness’ of his female colleagues in office banter as a vice president at a digital media company. He also testified that he speculated about whether a woman who worked for him there was a stripper on the side.”
The shakeup came several weeks after The Daily Beast published an in-depth story on how staffers at Sports Illustrated feel demoralized and dispirited amid civil war between its publisher, Maven, and its brand owner, American Brands Group (ABG). Over the last several months, Maven was sued by Sports Illustrated’s former owner Meredith over unpaid bills, and just narrowly avoided a legal battle with ABG, which licenses the iconic sports magazine to Maven. Sports Illustrated staffers have also railed against Maven for operating a “Blue Lives Matter” website and for continuing to keep on the payroll an ex-teacher who once pleaded guilty to “an improper relationship with a student.”