People Mag writer calls out celebrities & publicists in a hilarious resignation letter

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Sara Hammel may be my new hero. Hammel was, up until recently, an award-winning entertainment journalist working for People Magazine. Hammel had been working for People Mag for 14 years as a freelance writer, and she had covered some really big entertainment stories, like Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes’ Rome wedding. Well, after 14 years, she had enough. Enough of the celebrities, enough of their bats—t crazy publicists, and enough of the not-so-subtle changes with how People Magazine functions as an entertainment news source. So when Hammel resigned, she did so in a letter which is being called “bridge-burning” and “scorched earth.” And not only that, she made the letter public, so anyone can read it. Here you go:

Dear People Magazine,

I quit. It’s not me, it’s you. It’s been a wildly dysfunctional 14 years, and you’re an entirely different magazine than when we first got together. I swear half the current staff doesn’t know my name, despite my contribution to something like fifteen hundred stories in your celebrity annals, so here’s a refresher: I worked inside your London, Los Angeles and New York bureaus, covered breaking news in nine countries, and dealt with too many celebrities to remember (I know this because I was cruising through your archives recently and found my name on files I had no recollection of writing, and interviews with people I have no memory of meeting, like Ellen and Portia together, plus both leads in Nip/Tuck and that guy from Burn Notice). My first celebrity assignment for you was Spice Girl Geri Halliwell in 2002. My last was Robert De Niro in April 2016.

In between, there were memorable encounters galore, including making the gorgeous and empathic Mariska Hargitay ugly-cry (turns out she cries at like every charity-related event, phew), enduring an Oscar winner’s public bullying over an intimate dinner, facing a personal crisis at Tom Cruise’s wedding in Rome, getting basically, kind of spat on by a snotty J. Lo (okay, it was like a very wet pffttt in my general direction, really obnoxious), having fun with endless lower-key celebs like Rosario Dawson and Kyle MacLachlan and Michael Douglas, observing just how stiff and awkward George Clooney is around kids, insulting Sheryl Crow’s baby, and getting groped/harrassed by an A-list [omitted] performer in New York and Paris (that’s not to be flip—it was violating as hell. I’m still pissed I didn’t jab him in the balls with my pen).

This is just what the entitled stars and their bat—t crazy publicists put me and many other talented, hard-working reporters through. You people, as it turns out, are worse. Stupidly, we expect loyalty and support from you after years of service. We are naïve. Despite your nicey nice, glossy and chirpy veneer, some of us think of you more as the Leo DiCaprio of magazines, using up every beautiful model that crosses your path (“beautiful model”= “award-winning journalist” in this scenario), discarding them, and pretending you leave no wake behind you.

I’m oddly surprised my tenure here is ending not with explosive hatred stoked by a cold dismissal from an insensate behemoth (i.e. you)—a fate I watched ashen-faced friends and colleagues endure before my eyes during the Los Angeles bureau’s 2008 culling—but with a slow fade-out and a final venting of my gossip-weary spleen. Then again, that’s why I’m happy being freelance. I’ve survived something like eight rounds of layoffs where talented colleagues were bitch-slapped into oblivion and, I hope, will never give their nights, weekends, relationships and sanity again to keep up with an email chain about whether Jennifer Aniston is pregnant at 47 because of those tummy photos and what kind of mom will she be, when really she just had an extra burrito at lunch; but oh, wait, the rep says it’s just a rumor so there’s no story this week after all.

Read the rest in my mini-memoir. I will say, what happens after that is that my debut teen mystery, the one I spent my adult life making into a reality, but which, despite the schlock regularly featured in its pages and online, People decided to ignore—more to the point, they ignored me entirely—even after I toiled away for them for 14 years. They wouldn’t even give me a digital post that I wrote, sourced, and agreed to remove the name of my book from (LOL). That book is called The Underdogs.

I’ll leave you with the kicker: As I was crafting this letter, a Tweet came through from one of your top editors, Kate Coyne, crowing about her full-page People feature promoting her brand-new book, accompanied by a colorful screenshot. “Don’t ask how, but I got in touch with someone at @people—now I’m in the new issue. So grateful!” You should be, Kate. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Sincerely,
Sara Hammel

[Letter via the NY Post]

That’s some good dirt! I want to know the identities of those two blind items: who is A) the Oscar winner who publicly bullied Hammel over an intimate dinner and B) the A-lister who groped and harassed her? I love all of the named shade too – while I love J.Lo, I have no doubt that she’s spat/phlegm’d on reporters. And I think the whole idea of Clooney being really awkward around children is HILARIOUS. Granted, I’m awkward with kids too, but I’m not George Clooney! As for the email chains about Jennifer Aniston’s burrito baby… that’s a very “how the sausage is made” story about editorial decisions, isn’t it? That People Mag reporters are email-chaining about Aniston possibly being pregnant at 47 is… sad, I think.

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Covers courtesy of People Magazine.

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143 Responses to “People Mag writer calls out celebrities & publicists in a hilarious resignation letter”

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  1. Pugglebum says:

    Awesome.

  2. pwal says:

    Surely People could’ve foregone at least one Aniston Aveeno full-pager to give this staffer a blurb for her book, or any up and comer who, unlike Aniston, shows some promise, talent-wise.

    • Lindsay says:

      Don’t tear down Jen to build this (awesome) lady up. It isn’t necessary. It isn’t a zero sum game and they are in different industries.

      Also, no they won’t pull Jen’s full page Aveeno ad. That is a huge source of revenue for them. However, I do agree they could have found something non-essential to cut that isn’t an ad. It sounds like she was more than reasonable and would have settled for the website. It didn’t even have to be in the print edition.

      • Ican't says:

        @Lindsay

        Calm down no one tearing down Jen. Lol

      • Chinoiserie says:

        Ican’t, you clearly did not read pwal’s comment or you have a very different opinion of what is tearing down than most people.

      • Ican't says:

        @Chinoiserie

        I took Pwal comment as a joke because fir one if you have heard anything about this book you it’seems crappy and poorly written just like her tell all.

        Then again I forgot you can’t say anything about poor Jen without her fans attacking.

    • Aren says:

      Agreed. I don’t understand their obsession with Aniston, who only acted in something relevant 20 years ago.

  3. Jellybean says:

    Did it really take her 14 years to realize what a worthless job she had? What a waste of any talent she might have? What horrible people were in control? I have no doubt some celebrities are vile, but that doesn’t excuse the whole celebrity machine.

    Nonetheless, I am very glad she worked it out eventually, I love her parting shot and I hope she finds a better future.

    • pwal says:

      Well, it took readers, like me, a while to see the mediocrity take over the mag. For me, it was around the time when the former faces of Star Magazine became the faces of People. Right there, the quality of the magazine was compromised.

    • K2 says:

      I imagine she didn’t have a lot of choice. Online news has destroyed paid journalism for a lot of people. The joke I’ve seen passed around various writer friends’ Facebooks lately has been “free work = good exposure” over a screenshot of a (movie) exposure death.

      Paid work for a journalist now is hard to get, and not that well recompensed unless you are a star in your own right. I don’t blame any writer who works for more or less whoever is prepared to pay for their words.

      • WTW says:

        @K2 As a freelance journalist, I disagree that it’s hard to find paid work. You just have to be adamant that you won’t work for free and refuse to work for people who don’t pay you in a timely manner. Oh, and while I write for some high profile publications on occasion, I am hardly a star. I live in LA and don’t do entertainment writing, so I’m not especially connected, considering the writing elite is on the East Coast and even people in Northern Cali get way more writing opportunities than Angelenos do. Writers need to insist they won’t write for exposure because it brings the whole industry down. Perhaps your friends should check out the Who Pays Writers website: whopayswriters.com

      • K2 says:

        I’m British – I think our media is a much smaller pool than yours? I’m glad if things are better your side of the pond, because frankly, without professional journalism democracy is in a lot of trouble IMO.

        They don’t accept unpaid work. They apparently get offered it disturbingly frequently though, so some people must do.

      • Abby says:

        I’m a freelance writer, and I actually make a really good living. I think the key for me was to find a niche, and become an expert. My niche is horse magazines, and after 10 years in this industry (and a lifetime of riding, competing and basically networking), I have more work than I can take, great relationships with editors and the magazines pay me pretty well. But every time I’ve tried a celebrity interview (except ONE) it’s either been impossible, the publicist made it really hard or the interview was really controlled. And that’s for horse magazines. I would think celeb journalism would be a super touch niche.

    • KB says:

      I’m pretty sure she posted on here the other day as “JaneWriter” I don’t remember the post but the person said they just left People after 14 years and said the magazine will use any source’s quotes that make publicists happy or something like that. Maybe a Ben Affleck/Jennifer Garner post? I think she said the magazine had gone downhill during her time there too.

      • Naya says:

        Somebody find this please.

      • Christin says:

        It was the Swifty is private post. That comment stood out because it confirmed what I’ve always suspected. Use anything to match the narrative of the moment.

        People was a good read in the 1980s. I stopped buying it years ago, but would catch an issue at the hairdresser’s or a medical office. It began a slow descent in the 1990s, in my opinion.

      • antipodean says:

        It was comment number 21 on the “People Mag: “Normally, Taylor Swift is very reserved & private”…LMAO”, written on June 29 2016, by our beloved, hard working Kaiser. The commenter calls herself Janewriter. Interesting to know the diversity of folks who read and comment on CB.
        I always enjoy those who are brave enough to stick pins in sacred cows, which so many celebrities are held up to be these days. We all have feet of clay at the end of the day, but it is those who set themselves up to be better than everybody else who should be brought down to size by those unafraid to expose the Naked Emperor. It is such a shame these days that loyalty is a rare commodity, and even more rarely rewarded. Perhaps those with strong characters should just consider virtue its own reward. Although, unfortunately, it doesn’t help to keep the lights on, or pay the bills!

      • KB says:

        Went back and looked and she just said “several years” not 14 years, but I remembered the name because I thought maybe she’d have stories to tell later on lol I guess she’s saving them for her book

      • holly hobby says:

        Yes People has gone downhill. Jess Cagle pretty much killed it. He’s trying to make it into Entertainment Weekly 2. It’s ok for EW but I expected better from People. I just read it for free when I work out at the gym.

    • nicole says:

      This is her getting publicity for that book – not just 14 years of pent up rage or a sudden realization. Her posts have hastags promoting the book.

      • Elise says:

        That is exactly what I thought as well. She’s probably fed up with her job dealing with celebrities and their publicists, but the straw that broke the camel’s back was the editor getting promo for her book, while a “debut teen mystery” that she “spent her adult life making into a reality” didn’t.

        I’m a writer, and I pay attention to what gets ads in venues like People. Debut teen mysteries don’t. I’m willing to bet that the editor’s book was pitched for an adult audience. Welcome to the world of fiction novelists, kid, and I hope your book does well–but you’re going to have to scramble for promotion with the rest of us, and in a genre that isn’t nearly as hot as several others I could name. Hope you’ve got savings.

      • lou says:

        Elise: It’s a staffer’s book – I’m pretty sure they could’ve plugged it somewhere!

    • Imqrious2 says:

      I remember when People first came out. It was half filled with stories about *real* people who did, or lived through, extraordinary things, and half celeb related. Slowly but surely, it became a PR rag. I’ll never forget the awesome line in “The Big Chill”: Jeff Goldblum played a writer who worked for People, and he said (paraphrasing here), “You can only write a story that takes longer than an average crap.” And that’s just where that rag now belongs: in the crapper.

      • Christin says:

        This is what I remember — the early days when it had lots of truly interesting, inspiring stories. The celebrity stories included tidbits and photos about those of the golden age, not just the celeb of the hour.

    • PoliteTeaSipper says:

      It’s called “I got bills to pay”

      You’ll put up with a lot in that case.

  4. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    I would admire her more if she objected to their continued coverage and promotion of the Duggars and other perverts. This was sort of spiteful because they didn’t promote her book. Not very smart, though I’m sure it felt good.

    • Guesto says:

      Well said, GNAT.

      And yes, it does sound like sour grapes. Had they given her book the promotion she wanted, it sounds like she’d still be there on that ‘Aniston email chain’.

    • Lucy2 says:

      Yeah, I have to agree, it sounds like she’s bitter because they wouldn’t promote her book, which really they are under no obligation to do.

      • nicole says:

        She included a bunch of hashtags promoting her book so this is less telling them what’s up and more about getting publicity for her book – which is kind of petty in my opinion.

    • HH says:

      Glad it wasn’t just me. I was ready for that sort of dirt, or the issue the magazine has with diversity. There’s been a couple lawsuits I think. But no, she goes with the story of entitled celebrities being entitled. While juicy and funny, it’s just no longer shocking.

      And while she’s freelance, I don’t know if this was a smart move.

    • bluhare says:

      But they promoted someone else’s book. And if you had worked somewhere for 14 years and saw someone else’s promoted over yours, you might enjoy a bunch of sour grapes too.

      I quit reading People years ago, because if I’m going to read a gossip magazine I want actual gossip, not Hello Jr. and their publicist approved spreads.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        Oh, I’m not saying I wouldn’t be hurt. I would be.

      • KB says:

        The other girl’s book was about being a red carpet reporter. It was something People readers would be interested in. It was a bunch of self-deprecating and inoffensive stories about meeting and interviewing famous people.

      • Christin says:

        Sometimes it takes one event to crystallize everything. She’s a freelancer, so People likely wasn’t her entire bread and butter, which is fortunate. Snip that dead limb so the rest of the tree can flourish, would be my attitude.

    • Kiliki says:

      Another perspective I didn’t think of GNAT.

      You definitely take me down a few pegs sometimes, though I know I’m a very smart girl. I’ve also been incredibly sleep deprived lately with a new puppy and I feel I am stu-u-pid functioning at about 50%.

      I don’t read or buy the magazine though nor do I keep up with gossip other than on this site.

      Props to Kaiser and CB for actually making the “escapism can be smart” motto TRUTH.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        Ooh! Puppy ! What kind of puppy? And thank you for your kind words. I’m touched, though I know I’m not as smart or smarter than most people on here. I’m just opinionated. Lol

      • Kiliki says:

        GNAT- a pug!

        You’re greatly underestimating yourself. You ARE that smart. Top-tier. I know most readers here agree, I know it ;)

      • Tulip Garden says:

        Kiliki, wishing you much Pug Puppy happiness! I envy you a little :)

        GNAT, above and beyond what Kiliki said, you are also a great communicator. You always get your point across clearly and you seem unflappable, yes , UNFLAPPABLE, I say. That is one of the highest compliments I can bestow :)

      • nicegirl says:

        OOOH a pug puppy!!! Super jealous! Congrats to you and your new furry family member!

    • Nancy says:

      Good point. However, sadly it is the freakiest of the freaks that get the headline. I used to subscribe to People but canceled when it became more of a National Enquirer. It would be freeing and fun to quit as she did, take this job and shove it. I, however, I am the one who writes the angry, fu letters to get it out of my system then tear it up or delete it.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        I think that’s probably for the best. You never know when you burn a bridge who might know the person or hear about it in an unflattering light (then she had a total meltdown and quit) or other repercussions. I’m not saying you have to act all happy and sunny, but I wouldn’t put anything in writing or do an open letter.

      • Hazel says:

        I’m saving her letter as a template for my own FU letter/email, though I might save it until I retire.

    • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

      Yep, was kinda expecting a public call out of more than some celebs being entitled jerks (gasp! You mean the millionaire adored for wearing a wig and reciting lines written by someone else is less than a gentleman??) and them discussing Jen An’s phantom baby bump en infinitum to be her major complaints.

      Some celebs can be fake. Some celebs can be awesome. Publicists can be crazy. And gossip is at its heart a shallow business.

      But this is a magazine that has tee hee’d over rape, molestation, and abuse – happy to explore the sad perspective of the perpetrator and imply misdeeds on the victim and…she said not a peep about that. Okay then. Sorry they didn’t feature your book. Your contribution to rape culture is totally less important than that.

      • WindowChair5 says:

        Great post Eternal Side-eye. Agree 100%. Bravo for calling it out!

      • Lahdidahbaby says:

        I tend to feel the way you do about this, Eternal. Sour grapes tossed in so public a manner tend to boomerang back onto the tosser anyway, but ffs, if you’re gonna throw it all away over the lack of promo for a teen novel, then let your last stand do some real good, or you’ve just proven yourself to be more a part of the PEOPLE problem than you may care to admit. Or more a part of it than you are capable of comprehending.

        I think a number of us here are published writers and/or are/have been a part of the entertainment world, and as such one learns very early on that no one but YOU gives a shit about your current book unless it’s likely to be a best seller. No publication promos your latest title out of altruism or gratitude for your long service to them.

        All Sara Hammel has done, imho, is guarantee that she will *never work in this town again.*

  5. ncboudicca says:

    Nice, J-Lo, real nice.

    • Locke Lamora says:

      She sounds like an awful person.

      • Naya says:

        Seriously. How is that spitting incident not the main takeaway?? Its not just entitled and disgusting, it’s illegal in some places because of public health concerns.

      • qwerty says:

        This isn’t news.

      • SJO says:

        She is awful. I used to wait on her. Even the bussers (mostly Latin males and THAT is a feat) couldn’t stand her.
        Go ahead and enjoy your sour grapes sister. I don’t blame you. Anyone else feeling smug or self satisfied should really back off a foot or two. I say good for her.

  6. Lauren says:

    Jennifer Lopez’s son looks like Tobey Maguire

  7. Colette says:

    A few years ago People transformed from an entertainment magazine (like Entertainment Weekly) to a borderline tabloid,IMO.I was a subscriber until about five years ago.

    • Mare says:

      People has become just like every other gossip magazine.

    • Paige says:

      People has been going downhill for many years. Once upon a time it was a reputable magazine. Now it belongs in the trash with Star, Daily Mail, and the rest.

  8. Maria says:

    so she complains about entitled stars and crazy publicists while bashing an ex employer for not plugging her crappy book? sounds a lot like she became the very people she loathes.

    • Red Snapper says:

      I read the preview for the teen mystery she has spent her whole adult life crafting…. and it’s not very good. The writing is quite clumsy and awkward. I hope she hasn’t put all her eggs in that basket.

    • Frosty says:

      You took the words right outta my mouth!

    • eggy weggs says:

      Yeah, the writing in the above letter is not so awesome, either. Not to be a hater; I’m a writer, too, and I wish her well. I know how awful it is to be tossed aside or disregarded. That said, the bar for entertainment-writing awards must be kind of low or she had great editors polishing her work for her.

  9. Eva says:

    … what a nice way to promote her book.

    I believe her job was awful and that celebrities are awful but she comes off as bitter, spiteful and childish. People didn’t promote your book? Welcome to the club!

    • tracking says:

      +1 Though apparently there is a lot more dirt on particular celebs, which should make for fun reading.

  10. Azreen says:

    Yea I hope celebs read her letter and try to be more respectful to journalists. They think they can get away with anything.

  11. kri says:

    Well, damn. Those fireworks were LIT. OMG!!!!! “A snotty JLO”. LOL. The Leo DiCaprio of magazines…LMAO. I will buy anything this woman writes-even if it’s a set of directions.

  12. shoochai says:

    I love this. I was just thinking a couple of days ago, amidst this Tiddles debacle, that what I would really love is a gossip site that published “behind the scenes” dirt a la managers, publicists (ESPECIALLY publicists!) — so when we say as readers, for example, “god, some publicist is getting fired over this mess!” (W photoshoot), I WANT TO KNOW did that person get fired?
    Also, some inside dirt on what the motivation is behind specific PR campaigns/contact relationship aside from just general publicity? (ex: did Hiddles really think getting with Swifty would give him Bond leverage? Or was he just wanting to broaden his general visibility? WHAT HAPPENED IN THAT MEETING?!)
    I guess something like crazydaysandnights, but less blind items and more anon interviews with agents, publicists, or their assistants about what’s going on :)

    • Miss Melissa says:

      Speak ill of me, speak well of me, but for God’s sake, say something.

      What it did was make him the world’s most famous boyfriend. Everyone knows who is he is now, who cares why? It was publicity gold, no matter what the reason.

      Brilliant work by those “batshit” publicists. He accomplished in two weeks more than Cumberbatch did with an Oscar nomination. They are what everyone was talking about.

      And that is why it is done, folks. No matter what happens going forward.

    • LAK says:

      Laineygossip is very good on that score.

      She shows personal bias, but she dishes alot on the motivations and machinations of publicists, stars etc.

      • Turtle says:

        Agreed. Lainey is very aware of how the sausage is made. (Even so, I can’t figure out if her Queen Bey hyperventilating is sly, deep-dish satire or if she really means it.)

      • THE OG BB says:

        I used to really enjoy her perspective, but I truly believe she has become someone she claimed to loathe. All her mini van majority stuff is bs and we get it, her and her husband hate children and parents and the fly over states. Lots of moms who drive mini vans are on the up and up and know people is a sham and don’t think Jen Garner is a super mom. You can’t be the expert on something you know nothing about (ie American parents).

      • LAK says:

        From a marketing perspective, you don’t have to expetience something in order to market/pander to it.

        There are focus groups upon focus groups that help identify markets. You might not like the labels said markets are labelled, but it’s shorthand for a particular market.

        Further, it’s an average stand. Not all people identified as a target market will tick every box of the market’s criteria, but they will fit many assumptions of it.

        Hollywood makes alot of money from the family market, driven by the minivan majority, so many stars pander to that market.

        A different example of an over-used market phrase……in the old days, the question often asked was whether a film would ‘sell in Boise, Idaho’…..the stereotypically identified embodiment of small town conservatism. I’m sure people in said town would bristle at being labelled as such. I’m not even sure if such a town exists/existed, but the saying immediately conjured up a very particular market, and films/PR campaigns were crafted accordingly.

      • M.A.F. says:

        I too like Laineygossip. I read her articles as more commentary on society than anything else especially when she goes “in” on a celebrity (read her takes on Depp).

  13. Carol says:

    Well, I for sure want to read her mini-memoir.

  14. JudyK says:

    Before I even began reading this, I thought to myself, “I’d resign from any publication associated with the insufferable Kate Coyne,” and, then, bingo, Kate Coyne’s name pops up in the very last paragraph of Sara Hammel’s (very funny) resignation letter.

    Be glad you divorced yourself from this joke of a magazine, Sara.

  15. Tig says:

    I agree that People went off the rails- it used to be a fun read for treadmill time. She does seem to be expecting a bit much, though-plug my book and give it exposure worth $$$ bec a magazine should be grateful? Maybe she should write fairy tales!

  16. Singtress says:

    This comments on not on People, but the overall new work environment of “we don’t give a true shit about you” that seems to have appeared in the last decade.

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      It may have gotten worse in the last decade, but it’s nothing new. In my dad’s era, you worked for the same company for your whole career and there was some kind of mutual respect. But that went out the window in the eighties, I think. My ex was an investment banker, and his company would announce over their p.a. system that two hundred people will be laid off at four o’clock, you’ll get an email. I think its a mistake now to expect a company to care about you. You can hold them to legal behavior and that’s about it. You only choice is to leave and try to find a nicer place.

      • Singtress says:

        I am right with you on the “in my dads era” comment. And this is also what I compare it to.
        Perhaps previously I was lucky. Or maybe it is that I took 10 years off (2006-2016) to be mommy. But the work environment I am in now is shocking. And it would completely confound my father.
        It makes me wish for “the good ole days” that I wasn’t even a part of.

        I have to assume this reporter was on the “you are one of us” team for many years, and when the new management era/generation came on board during the last decade, she suddenly saw herself becoming a random worker. Which is not to say it is right…just the sad way it seems to work now.

      • racer says:

        Exactly.

    • Dlo says:

      17 years with a “community” bank and my job is being outsourced and possibly my entire dept. Person with the least time in is over ten years. There is NO loyalty to employees anymore. The CEO won’t even look me in the eye anymore and mumbles hello to the ground. So even small family companies are screwing long time workers and have no loyalty and do not care that they are doing this

    • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

      I don’t think its a new development. I read a piece a while ago that found one reason millenials workers are seemingly so unloyal to companies and willing to change jobs without much regret is because they saw their parents devote their lives to companies and not see much reward of respect.

      It’s a two way street. Employers don’t respect employees and employees don’t respect their employer.

  17. Crumpet says:

    Really, all those things that happened to her were awful, but she should have just left. Instead she comes off as bitter because they would not promote her book, plus she not only scorched the earth with People, but all the celebs she slammed.

    It’s like any bad break-up. My motto always was, just walk away and don’t look back no matter how much it hurts. Because in 1 year you won’t care anymore, and you will always have the comfort of knowing that you kept your dignity.

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      Completely agree. This may have felt good, but it was unprofessional and not very smart. People will think twice before hiring her. As you said, hold your head up and walk away. You will thank yourself later.

      • Crumpet says:

        I was fortunate to have a very wise friend in high school. She told me that the best revenge was to ignore them and live your life well. She was speaking at the time of boys, but it applies to so many other circumstances and I’ve never forgotten it.

    • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

      Very good and realistic point.

      Life isn’t a movie even for those celebs, we all have someone to answer to and bills that need to be paid. Journalism is a struggling field on its best and I have a feeling very few publications will want to hire the woman who blabbed all the company secrets in a goodbye tantrum.

  18. LAK says:

    And so she joins Sally Van Slyke, ex-universal publicist, Lauren Weissenberger, Author of Devil wears prada, Jane Bussmann, entertainment journalist turned novelist in burning their entertainment bridges on retiremSlyke

    ……but nothing has ever come close to Julia Philips’s memoir ‘ You’ll never eat lunch in this town again’ for telling it as it is (was) and burning every bridge as she went.

  19. Flowerchild says:

    Sounds like sour grapes basically her ” life’s work” is crap and People Magazine didn’t want to promote it. So because of that she going to spill the dirt on celebrities and People Mag. Dose she not get that she turned into the people she loathes.

  20. Nicole says:

    This letter was hilarious and sad at the same time. A lot of companies treat employees like a number instead of important pieces of the grander scheme of things. Now I’m the US we are overworked and underpaid. It sucks.
    And yes people mag has gone down with the tab fodder and I’m not surprised she was harrassed by a celeb. I’m surprised she wasn’t harrassed more tbh. Many writers get trampled on by entitled A-holes especially females.

    But yea this was funny. Sorry people.

  21. Dinah says:

    An insensate behemoth is right up there with nattering nabobs of negativism, only People stopped at nattering nabobs a long time ago.

  22. Zut alors! says:

    I hope she writes her memoir and calls out everyone by name.

  23. me says:

    So she called out Jennifer Lopez but protected the name of the guy that groped her? Why? I think she wrote this long “resignation” letter and made it public because she knew she’d get a lot of publicity for it. She’s playing us as much as celebs play the media. She’s got a book to sell after all lol.

    • Don't kill me I'm French says:

      The guy could sue her for diffamation

    • Naya says:

      She may be saving it for her book. Its not like Jlos behavior is surprising to anybody who paid attention to her bhs reputation or wasnt taken in by her saccharine rebranding on tv talent shows

    • Marianne says:

      I guess J.LO isnt that surprising though since she’s already been labeled a diva.

  24. Kiki says:

    I have to agree with Kaiser on this one. This is bat ___ crazy. I know you want to tell these people in your workplace you don’t like exactly how you feel, but you shouldn’t burn your bridges because it is only going to bite in the behind. However, this is good dirt. Another thing, you can call out Jennifer Lopez but you won’t say the name of a celebrity who groped you? Why is she protecting that pervert? That is something that is beyond me.

    Anyways, I want to know who is the entitled Oscar winning a**hole who bullied her for an intimate details. They are so many, so is it recent? Who?

    So what I am saying is, don’t burn your bridges and let Karma do her work. I works for me and continues to work for me. It should for you Ms. Hammel

    • Hudson Girl says:

      My thought was she had proof of the spitting/raspberry via her voice recorder but, a grope isn’t caught on an audio tape.

  25. manta says:

    “we expect loyalty and support from you after years of service. ”
    Has this woman seriously worked in corporate America for all these years? I got the memo from my parents when I wasn’t even 14: whichever field you work in, the person that signs your paycheck is not your family. For loyalty and support, you have us, the family you’ll create and your friends.
    She’s surprised by the lack of support, after she quietly sat in her corner watching talented people getting laid off year after year? Well, she ain’t that bright and presumably perfectly fitting in the world she thinks so beneath her today.

    • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

      Very good points, if you see a company treat your fellow employees like crap for years you can’t feign shock when it’s your bell that’s finally called.

  26. KBeth says:

    That was a fun read.

  27. Hmm says:

    I see people on here saying she shouldn’t “bite the hand…” and should leave with her dignity intact by not airing all this out.

    But you know what? At a certain point, enough is enough. I know of the kind of journalistic work culture she’s been part of and it is ridiculously dehumanizing. The comparison to Leo DiCaprio using models is accurate because creativity in writing is also one of those sensual things that can be sucked out of you by managers and companies that just want to exploit you.

    So I have no problem at all with her saying any of this. To me, this IS her trying to restore her dignity. I mean, she worked with them for 14 years and they couldn’t even run a blurb about her book? WTF?!! They deserved everything she said.

    And tbh, if people outside of media can support reporters actually speaking up — instead of tsk-tsking their methods — then maybe we can have the kind of changes in media that everyone craves (i.e. less racism, less sexism, more accuracy, less click bait etc etc.).

  28. Craig says:

    I think if you work for People you pretty much know you’re job will consist of nothing but kissing celebrity ass and writing fluff pieces.

    Did she really think she was writing for The New Yorker?

    I’m surprised the magazine even needs writers since they seem to just print blindly whatever a publicist feeds them.

    And if you’re going to burn bridges, at least spill good dirt–ho hum, J Lo was mean to her and Clooney can’t change diapers, so what?

    • tcbc says:

      She’s so delusional. Honey, you’re not a journalist, you’re a gossip columnist.

  29. iseepinkelefants says:

    Leo DiCaprio of magazines, using up every beautiful model that crosses your path (“beautiful model”= “award-winning journalist” in this scenario), discarding them, and pretending you leave no wake behind you.

    That was a sad bit. Wonder if men ever realize how they treat women. Poor pretty models. To be used by fat bloated DiCaprio *shudder*

  30. Robin says:

    So her poorly-written (not “crafted”, FFS, how pretentious) letter was basically a promotion for her book. Somehow that doesn’t tempt me to read it.

    Oh, and if the incredibly-over-rated Lopez actually did spit at her, that’s assault and possibly battery.

  31. B n A fn says:

    The thing I don’t understand with gossip is, when people in the know give us good gossip we put the person down. However, when someone makes up bs we are drawned to it like its the gospel. This lady had to get a few things off her chest, she told her truth but some gossip lovers here are condemning her for her truth. I guess it’s better to read bs from the Star or wherever they make up sh.t. Smh.

    • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

      It’s not really good gossip though.

      The thing is publicists work in overdrive to counter what the world already knows/suspects about their clients. George Clooney being uncomfortable around babies isn’t shocking considering even Tina Fey cracked a joke about him being in space to get away from a woman his own age at a public award’s show. We know this. Leo Dicaprio going through models like they’re skittles. We know this . Jennifer Aniston has been suspected of being pregnant 400x. Oh we know. A decade of magazine covers announcing her 30th secret baby has already revealed its a gossip obsession for tabloid writers. This is the type of info that isn’t even for the real gossip hounds, this is general public knowledge.

      The rest of what she revealed was just complaining about what every other person on the planet has experienced at one point or another in their own job. My advice to her would be don’t expect respect from a company that doesn’t respect anyone including itself.

      • B n A fn says:

        I’m thinking we suspect some of the things she said, but now I know some things I had suspected because I believe she is telling the truth. With her saying certain I believe her that Jlo was not nice to her and GC was ackward with kids.

        Ms Hammel had to get somethings off her chest and I’m hoping she feels a lot lighter doing so. I used to subscribe to People years ago but cancelled my subscription when there were all up in Jennifer Anniston grill almost every week. I could tell the magazine had changed and was only interested in certain stars. Your advice to Ms Hammel was wise. I’m thinking she knows she was going to burn some bridges but I bet she did not care. I guess she had something lined up as far as a new job. I’m wishing her the best.

      • Guesto says:

        @The Eternal Side-Eye – Well exactly. That’s the lamest dish ever and not remotely ‘good gossip’. If you’re going to go rogue, then give it proper welly.

      • KB says:

        I don’t think she’s feeling any better or lighter, she’s just been on Twitter retweeting every compliment and complaining about “trolls” giving her mini-memoir negative reviews on Amazon. The negative reviews are basically exactly what Eternal Side Eye said, there was no good gossip. One person said there were grammatical and spelling errors too. Who knows.

      • eggy weggs says:

        Again, not to diss this reporter too much, because there but for the grace go I, but even her exit letter was not super well crafted.

        Also, promoting a book by a staff person or long-time freelancer seems like a conflict of interest. I know, I know, it’s People Magazine and I stopped reading it ages ago because it just seems like bunch of press releases stitched together; it’s a magazine formed from conflicts of interest that are shaped with moderately pretty photos. And I get the hurt feelings, but c’mon. I wouldn’t want to be the next editor to work with her.

  32. DenG says:

    Please let us not forget that Aniston is the world’s most beautiful woman. That People recognize this is all that we require. I’m gonna eat, pray and take my dog out to pee.

    • Ican't says:

      Lol she was promoting a movie that’s why she got the title of most Beautiful this year. Just like when Goop, Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper and so on got the title. People Most Beautiful title tis brought and paid for by PR agents and the studios.

      • Annetommy says:

        Chris Pratt did not get the Sexy title BTW. He was kinda runner up, silver medalist, possibly to Chris Hemsworth. I demand a recount. Mind you, in a world where Adam Levine is sexy, anything is possible….

      • Ican't says:

        @ Annetommy

        Adam Livine was promoting a new album when he got his title so there’s that. Lol Both Chris were also promoting movies at the time and I guess Hemsworth PR agent won.

        I don’t know why some fans ( I’m not talking about you) get so hyped over these list, Like I said above PR agents, studios pay for those covers. 

  33. M.A.F. says:

    I read from another site that she has a larger tell-all book coming out so not to waste your time with her “mini-memoir”,

    • KB says:

      Yeah and apparently the biggest revelations from it were that Brittany Murphy was an anorexic and Simon Monjack had another kid or something. I’m still hoping we get something good, but if that’s the level of gossip we’ll be getting, I don’t really care.

      And a lot of the reviews said most of it was about how bad it was to work at People. If that’s true, she needs to let the anger burn off and add some humor.

      I think that’s why people are reacting negatively to her, because all we know about her is that she’s mad as hell and People wouldn’t push her YA book.

      And wouldn’t she be required to sign an NDA to work at People? There’s no way they’d risk a former employee ruining relationships with celebrities, right?

      • Jwoolman says:

        Maybe they forgot to get an NDA because she had been there so long. Bet they get one on file from everybody now….

  34. tmot says:

    What I want to know is, how can someone be “publicly” bullied at an “intimate” dinner. Bullying is never ok, but this makes no sense.

    • Starkiller says:

      “Intimate” does not equate to “not in public”. A dinner with a few people and/or at a small restaurant could be described as “intimate”, but it’s still taking place in public.

  35. Jade says:

    Wow she should be a paid, guest writer for Celebitchy with all that dirt. But agreed, she’s milking it for her book.

  36. Debutante says:

    Haha. Another confirmation of what an assh#@e Jennifer Lopez truly is !

  37. Harryg says:

    I have to say I found this letter a little bit weird and hard to understand. But sorry, it must be me.

    • Adele Dazeem says:

      It’s not you. She embellishes sentences with words and phrases to be ‘cute’ or ‘irreverent’ but all it really does is create lengthy sentences that are hard to follow. If you’ve ever read books by Jen Lancaster, she has a similar style. I’m not a fan either.

  38. Timbuktu says:

    I found her letter to be extremely underwhelming, tbh. Yes, bullying and harassment aren’t right, but that is not journalism-specific, either. And yes, it is a little weird that she called out JLo for spitting, but not the guys who harassed her.
    Her examples about workplace abuse were not really that compelling: as many pointed out, that’s par for the course. In a way, she’s better off as a journalist than many other professions where such complaints would NEVER receive such attention.
    Soooooo not sure what my take away should be on this one.

    • Adele Dazeem says:

      Agreed. As previous posters have said, while this letter has generated some short term buzz, I think long term it’s quite damaging, career-wise for her.

      • Jwoolman says:

        Depends on what she sees as her career. She might not have any trouble getting interviews with people who have no intention of spitting on her or groping her, for instance. I don’t think she would have trouble selling good stories and interviews freelance. Freelancers aren’t employees. We don’t get any guarantees of continued work, no pension, we pay our own employer’s share of our equivalent of FICA (self-employment tax), no unemployment benefits. We don’t get involved in the office politics because we have so little contact with the office. So we’re pretty safe. It’s the people on staff who would have the real dirt to sell.

  39. Abby says:

    I stopped reading People when I discovered Celebitchy. No lie. I like reading the article linked, reading the CB POV and then the comments. No need to read the magazine anymore! I could just be overwhelmed with magazines and reading them for work makes me tired.

    • eggy weggs says:

      I work in print and I’m a champion of print but even I say that entertainment journalism’s best medium is online. Online is more nimble, malleable and more accessible.

  40. ChloraformCasey says:

    I was on a film set with JLo, and EVERY crew member hated her ass. She was a complete bitch to every single person. She’s NOT a nice person. To anyone.

  41. Cannibell says:

    My sister and I reviewed books for People for six years and watched the slide. We loved our first two editors and all of the reporters with whom we worked, but when the one who axed us came in, we knew from the way she was working and the questions she had the reporter/editors ask that it was all over if you weren’t a New York based Size-2-black-wearing climber who didn’t care about more than gloss. Good, snappy writing didn’t matter anymore.

    It was a great run, we both loved it and life has gone on.

  42. nicegirl says:

    I had not heard that J Lo was so rude. Wow. I thought she was supposed to be a nice Jenny from the block. YUCKY

  43. Katija says:

    From a PR perspective, this ain’t “burning bridges.” Homegirl is probably drowning in job offers. Now more than ever, any publicity is good publicity. She’s proven she can go viral. This is the best thing to ever happen to her career.

  44. Blackbetty says:

    I dont blame her as Ive experienced how little loyalty employers have these days, for long term employees. I honestly also stopped buying these gossip magazines when i started reafing this site- years ago. Your website is faster and has better content by far!

  45. EM says:

    Good on her for telling it like it is. People tend to hold celebrities on pedestals, when their images are largely manufactured.