In news that came as little surprise in the publishing industry, Rosie O’Donnell pulled the plug on her namesake magazine Wednesday.
Following an extended battle with the magazine’s publisher, Gruner + Jahr, over the publication’s editorial direction, O’Donnell, 40, informed the company’s president that she would “terminate my agreement to produce Rosie magazine.”
“The decision to discontinue Rosie was a very difficult one, and I spent a long time wrestling with it,” O’Donnell said in a statement, according to Mediaweek. “In the end, I decided that I could not participate in a magazine that bears my name when I could not be assured it would reflect my vision, values and editorial direction.”
The end of Rosie, however, might not be so simple. Gruner + Jahr USA Publishing, which is said to be considering its legal options against O’Donnell, issued a harshly worded statement following O’Donnell’s announcement.
“As of 9 a.m. this morning Gruner + Jahr USA Publishing was informed by Rosie O’Donnell that she is terminating our joint venture agreement to publish Rosie magazine,” the company’s chief marketing officer, Cindy Spengler, says in a notice to employees obtained by PEOPLE.com. “It is truly shocking and disappointing that Rosie would walk away from her obligations to her staff, her business partner and her magazine audience.”
The lengthy statement also goes on to say, “Gruner + Jahr USA is caught in the maelstrom of Rosie O’Donnell apparently abandoning her past. She has walked away from her television show, her brand, her public personality, her civility — and now her fans, the advertising community, her business partner and her contractual responsibilities.”
Sources tell PEOPLE.com that the mood around the Rosie editorial offices by late morning Wednesday was “extremely grim,” even as word spread that selected members of the editorial staff would be receiving $10,000 in severance.
Among those not receiving severance, according to the source, would be Susan Toepfer, formerly of PEOPLE who, reputedly at the behest of the publisher (but not of O’Donnell) replaced Cathy Cavender only a few months ago as editor in chief of the troubled publication.
That move, it was said, sparked the highly publicized (but behind-the-scenes) feud between O’Donnell and G + J, which began publishing Rosie in May 2001 after it closed down its long-running magazine, McCall’s.