Digital publisher The Arena Group, which operates household brands such as Sports Illustrated and The Street, fired its chief executive on Monday amid a larger C-suite bloodbath, a spokesperson for the company told CNN.
A spokesperson for The Arena Group declined to go into further detail to explain the ouster of Ross Levinsohn, who served as chief executive for three years. But the move came after an embarrassing debacle in which Sports Illustrated was caught publishing stories with fake author names and profile photos generated by artificial intelligence.
Levinsohn was replaced, effective immediately, by interim chief executive Manoj Bhargava, the 5-Hour Energy founder who owns a majority stake in The Arena Group, said Vince Bodiford, a spokesperson for Bhargava.
Levinsohn’s termination comes less than a week after The Arena Group fired three of its major executives: operations president and chief operating officer Andrew Kraft, media president Rob Barrett, and corporate counsel Julie Fenster.
“All of the media brands, including Sports Illustrated, will continue to operate with the management of those verticals, while the company just takes a broad view of operations and how to improve the business overall,” Bodiford told CNN.
Asked whether the changes have anything to do with allegations that Sports Illustrated used AI to write articles, Bodiford said, “we have nothing further to add to the company’s prior statements regarding A.I.”
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