Quibi CEO Meg Whitman Says She's Sorry for Her Remarks About Journalists

The CEO of new streaming service Quibi apologized for remarks she made in which she compared journalists to sexual predators.

On Tuesday, The Information reported that during an "all-hands" staff meeting the week prior, Quibi's Meg Whitman made an analogy about journalists in the way they cultivate sources to sexual predators who take advantage of young victims. The remarks reportedly came after a leak of an internal company memo.

In an interview with Variety published Friday, Whitman said that she regretted that comparison. "I used an analogy that was inappropriate and just plain wrong," she said. "None of us are ever perfect. I didn't intend it, and it's not at all how I think, how I feel."

Whitman also said she respects the work journalists do. "I've had a long, long history with journalists, and I completely respect what you all do and the important role that you play," she said. "So I'm super sorry about it."

Quibi founder Jeffrey Katzenberg backed Whitman. "The first, most important thing about [Meg] is she's a quality human being," he told Variety. "[It's an] unfortunate choice of words that have nothing to do with who she is, and that I know I can say with certainty."

Quibi did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

The subscription streaming service, which is expected to launch in April, targets millennials with short-form videos from directors such as Antoine Fuqua, Sam Raimi and Guillermo del Toro, according to Variety. There are two price tiers: a $4.99 option with ads before videos, and an ad-free version for $7.99. Directors will create two versions of their projects, one to be split up and aired on Quibi and a full-length version. After two years, the project will by fully owned by the content creator and can be sold globally. Other programming includes content from news organizations such as 60 Minutes.

Prior to her arrival at Quibi in 2018, Whitman was the CEO of eBay from 1998 until 2007. In January 2011, Whitman joined Hewlett-Packard, and became CEO in September 2011 until 2017. She also ran for governor of California in 2010 as a Republican, but lost to Democratic candidate Jerry Brown.

Several executives have left Quibi prior to launch. According to The Los Angeles Times, Diane Nelson, the former president of DC Entertainment, left Quibi in November, citing "personal priorities." Former Hulu executive Tim Connolly, Quibi's head of partnerships and distribution, departed the company in August, as well as Janice Min, the head of daily content, in September.

Meg Whitman
Quibi CEO Meg Whitman speaks about the short-form video streaming service for mobile Quibi during a keynote address January 8, 2020 at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada. Robyn BECK / AFP/Getty