Harper’s Editor Says He Was Fired for Opposing Katie Roiphe Story

Katie Roiphe. Photo: Jason Andrew

In January, rumors circulated that Harper’s would be publishing a story written by Katie Roiphe, in which she planned to name the creator of the Shitty Men in Media list. Soon after, the creator of the list — Moira Donegan — ended up outing herself in an essay for the Cut, and by February, Roiphe’s (boring) story came out. But on Tuesday, the saga continued, as Harper’s editor James Marcus said that he had been fired for opposing Roiphe’s story in the first place.

Earlier this week, writer Nicole Cliffe tweeted that Marcus had been fired from his post as the top editor of Harper’s. In a Tuesday statement to Publisher’s Lunch, Marcus confirmed his departure from the magazine. He said in his statement that the magazine’s publisher, Rick MacArthur, fired him on Friday afternoon for “opposing the publication of Katie Roiphe’s cover story in the March issue.”

Marcus said in his statement:

“All I can say for the moment is that Katie Roiphe’s article was assigned over my objections by Rick MacArthur, the magazine’s publisher. I nonetheless worked very hard on the piece, as did the rest of the editorial staff. I had hoped that despite our differences, Rick and I could agree to disagree and move on. He could not. When I was fired on Friday afternoon, it was clear that the dispute over Roiphe’s article was the main cause.”

Giulia Melucci, Harper’s vice-president of public relations, told Publisher’s Lunch in a statement, “For the record, it was I who assigned that piece, not Rick MacArthur.” She declined to provide more information on Marcus’s termination, writing that it is not the magazine’s “policy to discuss such matters with the press.” Marcus told the website in a further reply, “Giulia knew Katie socially and reached out to her. By herself, she didn’t have the authority to assign or edit anything: she’s a publicist. So it was Rick’s call.”

Marcus joined Harper’s in 2010 as its deputy editor, and was promoted to the top editor position in 2016. The magazine’s former editor, Christopher Cox, said at the time that he had been fired after only three months over “editorial differences with the publisher.”

Harper’s Editor Says He Was Fired Over Katie Roiphe Dispute