Back in grad school I had a classmate who would take naps in a broom closet.
As odd as that was, it gave him peace, he got some rest and no one was the wiser.
But I’ve truly never heard of an editor dressing down an employee in a supply closet, which is what happened at Politico this week when Digital Editorial Director Blake Hounshell decided to do just that. Hounshell, who quickly rose up within the ranks as one of editor Susan Glasser‘s top managers, on Monday took a junior breaking news reporter, Kendall Breitman, into a supply closet to tell her that she had to pack up her stuff and leave, The Mirror has learned.
Bloomberg Politics hired Breitman. Tuesday was to be her last day at Politico.
Back in the supply closet, sources say Hounshell told Breitman that she must leave that day, her second to last day on the job and not her scheduled final day. When she protested, he told her she had to take it up with HR, which she did. At which point she had her exit interview and HR immediately escorted her out of the building.
This isn’t standard operating procedure at Politico by any means. In fact, reporters like Jonathan Allen, Ellie Titus and Jennifer Epstein who have also left Politico for Bloomberg Politics were never treated in this manner.
As previously reported, insiders tell The Mirror that Glasser did not order Hounshell to do this. He took it upon himself. Earlier in the week, sources explained that it’s Bloomberg‘s policy to make employees leave on the day they resign. But that is the policy in Bloomberg‘s offices only and not intended for employees who are leaving a company to go to work for Bloomberg. [RELATED: Is Politico Getting Petty About Employees Who Leave?]
It should come as no surprise that sources also tell me that Hounshell is widely disliked within certain segments of the newsroom.
The Mirror sent Hounshell four questions to answer. They are as follows:
1. Does Politico not have private offices where you can go to talk?
2. Do you think it’s fitting for a male supervisor to speak to a subordinate, a female no less, in a supply closet?
3. Why the rush to get her out of the building?
4. I’m told that Susan Glasser did not order you to do this. So why did you?
Hounshell replied, “Hi, Betsy, this isn’t right, but as you know I can’t comment on personnel matters.” He also said something else off the record that I won’t share with you despite not having any agreement with him to be off the record.
As I know? — The Mirror does not know that Hounshell can’t comment on this.
Please note: The supply closet pictured here is not the one from Politico‘s office space. We can only hope there was more room in there than the one above.