Peter Meehan, food editor of the Los Angeles Times, issued an apology and announced he’ll step down from that role after a litany of allegations against him hit Twitter on Monday. The grievances include claims that he engaged in conduct that was seen as insensitive toward women and people of color, verbally abused employees, and allegedly engaged in sexual misconduct while at Lucky Peach, a magazine he co-founded with David Chang before joining the Times. One tweet also claimed that he failed to highlight stories that centered or thoughtfully treated diverse chefs or cuisines.
It was also brought up that, despite helming the paper’s food section, Meehan was not living in Los Angeles and would use newspaper resources to make frequent trips here from his home in New York City. His salary, according to estimates in the thread, may have been as high as $300,000, while other Times journalists have been subject to furloughs, work-sharing, and other cutbacks to make financial ends meet.
While the paper has been addressing a widespread problem with race in staffing and content, Meehan’s announcement was directly linked to the series of tweets issued by journalist Tammie Teclemariam on Monday, which she credited to a number of sources who’d reportedly come forward. Teclemariam has become a high-profile figure in the food media world in recent weeks as the individual who came forward with the photo of Adam Rapoport which contributed to his downfall at Bon Appétit and triggered a reckoning across the Condé Nast empire.
— UNIONIZE CONDE, FAST (@tammieetc) June 29, 2020
Meehan mentions her thread in his apology statement. While he claims to dispute the accuracy of at least some of the claims that appeared in the posts, he also credits the thread for inspiring his own staff to become more open in airing their concerns to him.
“I’m sorry to everybody that I’ve let down directly or indirectly and the last thing I’ve ever wanted to be is some sort of institutionalized problem,” he writes. The apology concludes by saying, “I wish I had seen myself how others did and changed my ways, but this moment is about that: changing, challenging, and making things better.”
— Peter Meehan (@pfmpfmpfm) July 1, 2020