They said/We said: Controversial writer Cat Marnell finally leaves xoJane.com
You have to give it to her: xoJane.com’s former beauty and health editor Cat Marnell, who recently left/was asked to leave the site because of her drug use, tells it like it is. “Look, I couldn’t spend another summer meeting deadlines behind a computer at night when I could be on the rooftop of Le Bain looking for shooting stars and smoking angel dust with my friends and writing a book, which is what I’m doing next,” she told the NY Post in an unabashed email.
Marnell, who worked at Lucky as a beauty editor before joining xoJane.com, quickly gained notoriety for her always-entertaining and raw posts. The posts generally stuck to the same rambling formula: they would start off with some mention of a beauty conundrum, quickly spin out into a vaguely-related retelling of a drug-fueled moment and then, at last, the whole post would wrap up with the mention of a beauty product. Somehow, the formula worked. Marnell was one of the most commented-on writers for the site, not to mention she brought in the most traffic.
Jane Pratt, the site’s editor and former editor of Jane Magazine, devotedly kept Marnell on (until now) despite pressure from xoJane.com’s publisher Say Media, who had previously put Marnell on disability leave. “[…] Though I would love for her to take care of that brilliant brain of hers, I’ve always had a Libertarian view of drugs and suicide, that people can do whatever they want with their own bodies,” Pratt said in a post on xoJane.com yesterday. “In the end: We both agreed she wasn’t doing her job. Though she plans to write more here in the future, she isn’t on staff,” she added.
But judging from some of Marnell’s most recent quotes, she has no plans of cleaning up anytime soon. “Why am I not talking about drugs if I’m taking them every day? People can say that’s pathetic, but it’s one of my main hobbies . . . why do I have to clean up?” she told the Times. Whatever happens with Marnell, we’re getting our hands on her book the second it comes out. As twisted as the read might be, it will undoubtedly be a good one.
Cat Marnell: “Drug addicts undeniably bring editorial black magic to the table like nobody else, but obviously we make the worst staffers.” [NY Post]
Jen Doll, Atlantic Wire contributor: “Watching all this happen is something like watching Lindsay Lohan cycle through highs and lows . . . we watch and wait and it’s cringe-worthy and awful, but it’s the proverbial car crash we can’t look away from.” [The Atlantic Wire]
Paige Dzenis, associate online editor: “Yes, Cat’s a talented writer—that’s why her drug use comes across more like a Bret Easton Ellis novel than an episode of Intervention. But it takes a huge amount of privilege to say no thanks to a job, rehab and healthy relationships. (And please, name another employer who’s that understanding about an addiction?)”