Gideon Yago on Freebies: ‘How Does Any Travel Writer Write Anything About Anything Without a F—ing Junket?’

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Photo: Patrick McMullan

Last month, freelance writer Mike Albo got fired from his "Critical Shopper" gig at the New York Times after availing himself of a free Thrillist junket to Jamaica. With him on the trip was former MTV News correspondent turned freelancer Gideon Yago. When we ran into Yago last night at the premiere of The Messenger, we asked him if the Times was being fair.

"If it was in direct violation of somebody's company, yeah, you can't fuck with your company policy," Yago told us. "But if it is sort of a gray area and you work for a company where they didn't have a policy for it … I didn't see what the tremendously huge deal was. What I don't understand is how does any travel writer write anything about anything without a fucking junket? I mean, no disrespect, but I kept myself drunk and fed throughout my early career writing record reviews because I'd go to record release things and there'd be food and drinks there. I don't know if that was a huge ethical violation — maybe it was, but it didn't stop me from slagging shit bands for making shit music."

For the record, Yago clarified that he did not attend the junket on behalf of any outlets. "I was there because I know the people who run Thrillist and they were sort of friends," he explained. When DailyFinance initially published the story that led to Albo's dismissal, Yago — who was mentioned in the piece — demanded a retraction. "They just took a swipe against this show that I do called The Media Project. They never asked what the policy was at the place where I worked, and they never called me for a comment. They were just being kinda bitchy about it."