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Sports Illustrated CEO fired over AI scandal, Manoj Bhargava is the new interim head

San Francisco, Dec 12 (IANS) The publisher of Sports Illustrated has sacked the magazine’s CEO Ross Levinsohn, after the magazine published articles with bylined non-existent writers and AI-generated profile pictures.

The board of directors of The Arena Group terminated the employment of Levinsohn, and named Manoj Bhargava as interim Chief Executive Officer late on Monday.

“This follows actions last week, in which the company terminated the employment of operations president and COO Andrew Kraft, media president Rob Barrett, and corporate counsel Julie Fenster,” the company said in a statement.

The AI scandal sparked severe criticism of media coverage and outrage from the magazine’s staff, reports Futurism.

“Effective immediately, Ross Levinsohn will be leaving the company and his role as CEO,” Grady Tripp, the company’s senior vice president of people, wrote in an email to staff.

“This follows the recent departure of three senior executives last week.”

Bhargava is the founder of the energy drink brand 5-hour Energy and majority investor of The Arena Group.

The Arena Group has brands like Sports Illustrated, TheStreet, Parade, Men’s Journal, and HubPages.

The company aggregates content across a diverse portfolio of over 265 brands, reaching over 100 million users monthly.

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