Sports Illustrated fires CEO Ross Levinsohn, I guess he didn’t make the cut!

In a scandal involving AI-generated stories, CEO Ross Levinsohn was ousted from The Arena Group. The company also terminated other top executives. Learn more about the controversy and its aftermath in this wild tale. #SportsIllustrated #CEOscandal

The firing came after a scandal rocked the publication involving AI-generated stories from fake authors… . But it’s not clear if that’s what led to CEO Ross Levinsohn’s ousting.

Levinsohn, CEO of The Arena Group, was given the boot and Manoj Bhargava was named interim chief executive officer. No other info was provided other than the fact that the board met “and took actions to improve the operational efficiency and revenue of the company.”

Last week, the company also canned operations president and COO Andrew Kraft, media president Rob Barrett and corporate counsel Julie Fenster… Ouch!

Levinsohn had been in his role since 2020 and had previously been a top executive at Yahoo, Fox Interactive, and Tribune Publishing.

But here’s where it gets juicy…

A recent piece on the web site Futurism alleged that stories on the Sports Illustrated website “were churned out using AI,” and that the contributor profiles on many of them were also AI-generated, right down to the author photos!

The site also claims it found similar content on The, which Arena Group bought from co-founder Jim Cramer in 2019. There was also a controversy earlier this year when Men’s Journal, another Arena Group publication, published an AI-generated medical article reportedly riddled with “inaccuracies and falsehoods.”

The union representing editorial staff said that it was “horrified” by the report.

But wait, there’s more…

A spokesperson for The Arena Group said that “the articles in question were product reviews and were licensed content from an external, third-party company, AdVon Commerce. A number of AdVon’s e-commerce articles ran on certain Arena websites. We continually monitor our partners and were in the midst of a review when these allegations were raised.”

AdVon, the statement says, “has assured us that all of the articles in question were written and edited by humans. According to AdVon, their writers, editors, and researchers create and curate content and follow a policy that involves using both counter-plagiarism and counter-AI software on all content. However, we have learned that AdVon had writers use a pen or pseudo name in certain articles to protect author privacy.”

Arena Group ended the partnership with AdVon, according to the spokesperson. Phew!

Now, time for a shoutout to Tom Tapp for contributing to this report . Cheers, Tom!

And that, my friends, is the wild tale of the Publisher of Sports Illustrated ousting CEO Ross Levinsohn. Stay tuned for the next chapter in this saga!

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