Michelle Tan, the editor-in-chief of Seventeen magazine, was fired on her maternity leave, and it’s sparking plenty of online criticism.
Firing someone on maternity leave is only illegal if you are firing that person because she is on maternity leave. Still, it’s not a good look for America’s most read young women’s magazine, and some on Twitter were dismayed by the action.
Tan came to Seventeen after working as the special projects editor for Time. She was named Seventeen’s editor-in-chief in 2014, and under her tenure, she worked to highlight diversity and launched a capsule collection called “The Edit.”
Women’s Wear Daily reported that while circulation didn’t decline under Tan’s leadership, newsstand sales plummeted.
In the second half of 2015, Seventeen’s total paid and verified circulation was flat over the prior year at about 2 million. Total single-copy sales, however, declined 47.1 percent to 81,831, according to the Alliance for Audited Media. While circulation has held steady since Tan took the reins, the newsstand has been falling fast in recent months. In the last five months of 2016, Seventeen’s newsstand sales averaged 57,760.
There is no official word on why Tan was fired, and Hearst Magazines, which owns Seventeen, did not immediately return a request for comment.