|She says she was fired for retaliation. Hearst Magazines said she was insubordinate. How Delish’s hit YouTube show “Budget Eats” came crashing down.
June Jiuxing Xie was a rising star at Hearst Magazines, where she charmed millions of viewers with her no-frills home kitchen YouTube show “Budget Eats,” cooking eight dinners for two on just $15 or living off pantry staples for a week.
Produced by the Hearst-owned food brand Delish, “Budget Eats” was the kind of digital success story that traditional magazine giants crave. But on October 6, Xie was fired.
For some staffers, Xie was a hero, a union organizer whose star power gave her the internal clout to make noise. But for Hearst, a 135-year-old institution, Xie’s behavior was a nuisance.
The implosion of “Budget Eats” is a modern digital media tragedy — one about a legacy publisher trying to expand a video hit into something larger, the simmering disputes between organized labor and management, the rise of a young woman of color inside a traditional behemoth, and a generational workplace clash.