The hiring of editor Jake Silverstein, formerly of Texas Monthly, by The New York Times Magazine, is not going over well down south. Emmis Communications, which owns the Texan title but is actually based in Indiana, is planning to sue the Times for “inducing” breach of contract.
“We had an understanding with Emmis during the search that Jake would be permitted to exit his contract with Emmis and take the job,” said Times spokesperson Eileen Murphy in a statement. “Inexplicably, Emmis has instead decided to initiate litigation.”
It’s a strange move, to be sure. In its Eleven Commandments of Emmis Communication, the company decrees “Be rational — look at all the options,” “Have fun — don’t take this too seriously,” “Don’t attack the industry, build it up,” “Never jeopardize your integrity — we win the right way or we don’t win at all,” and “Be good to your people — get them into the game and give them a piece of the pie.” All good things to keep in mind.
“We believe there is no basis for a lawsuit,” said Murphy. “We look forward to having Mr. Silverstein join the Times next month and help us shape the future of the magazine.” In fact, Silverstein spent the day at the Times offices today, Daily Intelligencer has learned, meeting with his new colleagues.
Update: Despite the Times’s initial report, Silverstein is not named in the lawsuit. In a statement, Emmis said the Times “been previously informed that Mr. Silverstein was party to an employment agreement with Texas Monthly and that an agreement would need to be reached between Texas Monthly and the Times to terminate Mr. Silverstein’s employment agreement before the Times could make the hire. No such agreement was reached and, to date, the Times has refused to even participate in settlement discussions despite numerous attempts by Emmis to do so.”
“Jake has been an integral part of our management team and has done an exemplary job as the editor-in-chief of Texas Monthly since 2008. Despite our attempts to reach an amicable resolution with the Times to terminate our employment agreement with Jake, both before and after the announcement of his hiring, the Times has refused to even engage in negotiations with Texas Monthly. Texas Monthly and Emmis take our commitments seriously and expect others to do the same.”
“While Jake leaves with our best wishes in his future endeavors, Texas Monthly has been damaged by the Times and expects to be fairly compensated,” said Greg Loewen, President of Emmis Publishing.