Last month, BuzzFeed wrote a long piece on the downfall of The Guardian’s U.S. site, which failed to capitalize on the momentum it gained from breaking the Edward Snowden story and ultimately began to falter.
The article focused in on Guardian US editor Lee Glendinning, but also included an anecdote about her deputy, Matt Sullivan. While at The Guardian, BuzzFeed found that a woman alleged he had sexually harassed her at a 2015 holiday party.
And at the 2015 holiday party, Glendinning’s former deputy, Matt Sullivan, allegedly groped a colleague.
According to a company document obtained by BuzzFeed News, the complaint against Sullivan was filed on Feb. 17, 2016, and details allegations that Sullivan came up behind the colleague and put his hand underneath her shirt, on her torso and abdomen, and in the back pockets of her jeans. The woman, whom BuzzFeed News is not naming, confirmed that she filed a complaint.
Sullivan left in The Guardian in March 2016. He became the director of editorial innovation and special projects for Bleacher Report and the editorial director of B/R Mag in September of that year.
Sullivan’s attorney denied the allegations to the BuzzFeed, but BuzzFeed reports many people at The Guardian new about them.
In a letter, Andrew Brettler, an attorney from Lavely & Singer representing Sullivan, said the allegations were “false and defamatory” and “indicates that BuzzFeed’s proposed story is based on little more than stale and unsubstantiated rumor from unidentified individuals who — if they even exist — evidently have an axe to grind with Mr. Sullivan and cannot be considered reliable sources.”
The incident was well-known within the Guardian newsroom by the time the complaint was filed formally, seven current and former employees say. Other media outlets were chasing the story.
Since Sullivan left, the incident has flown under the radar. Bleacher Report has never addressed the complaint, and a Variety article about Sullivan’s hiring did not mention it. A representative for Bleacher Report and Turner Sports told Awful Announcing that they company would not be commenting. The Guardian said that it does not comment on personnel-related questions.
Either way, this is something Bleacher Report and Sullivan have to address, particularly given how high he ranks in the Bleacher Report hierarchy.