Monday, June 24, 2019

"The Wild Ride at Babe.Net"

The Cut:

In the spring of 2018, I visited the offices of the millennial/Gen-Z-oriented website babe.net, a sunny loft space in Williamsburg, just around the corner from Vice. Babe.net — now shuttered — was then at the frothy peak of its existence. I made sure to wear my coolest pants.

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I would find out later that most of that day had been carefully calibrated to impress me. “You know how a teacher decorates the classroom on parents’ visiting day?” [a writer] said recently, laughing. “It was like that.” The Rihanna poster, the framed enlargements of highly trafficked articles on the wall, even the “What the Fuck is babe.net” sign on the archway had all been hung just for my arrival. The U.S. tab.com staffers, who shared the office with babe.net, had been told to go work at another location for the day.

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[The] Editor [], who was in charge of all the writers, told me she gave new writers links to the old Gawker archives to read in order to nail the tone. (Rarely had the new writers, with an average age of approximately 23, heard of Gawker — much less did they know about its fall.)

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The next day, Jane went to the office. “The first thing [a female] editor does is lean on the table and goes, ‘Wow, fucking the boss on the second day? Good move,’” she said. “Everyone was looking at me like I was Monica Lewinsky.”

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[Employees] who had all been with the company for multiple years and had always operated as a unit in the office, coalesced into an even stronger clique — the last survivors of first-generation Babe. They got matching tattoos — tiny lowercase b’s for Babe — to commemorate their bond to each other and their loyalty to the site.