A month after out talk-show host Rosie O'Donnell severed ties with the magazine bearing her name, publisher Gruner + Jahr suspended publication of Rosie and terminated most of its employees--120 positions. The publisher, who is suing O'Donnell, the magazine's former editor, for breach of contract, blamed her for the job cuts, saying, "As a result of Rosie O'Donnell's decision to terminate her participation in Rosie magazine, Gruner + Jahr is left with no choice other than to reduce staff levels until further plans, if any." G+J, owned by German media giant Bertelsmann AG, said the magazine's farewell issue goes on sale November 12.
"Rosie is saddened that they wouldn't transition the magazine to keep the staff employed," O'Donnell spokeswoman Cindi Berger said. "Because the magazine wasn't going in the direction she envisioned, she just wanted to take her name back." O'Donnell is countersuing also for breach of contract.
Rosie rose from the ashes of McCall's magazine 18 months ago and was a moderate success until O'Donnell announced in September that she was leaving because the publication no longer represented her "vision and ideas." At the time, she encouraged the company to publish the magazine under a new name. Before leaving, O'Donnell gave $10,000 checks to most staff members, Berger said. "They were gifts, not severance," she added.
The magazine's publisher, Joan Sheridan, and editor in chief will remain with G+J to work on new business development projects. Some staff members may be offered other positions within the company, a G+J spokeswoman said.