Controlling behavior of HQ CEO hijacks what should have been a puff piece about popular HQ host Scott Rogowsky

A few minutes ago I heard about HQ for the first time, through a friend’s Facebook post. An item or two down in my feed I saw a different FB friend had linked to this story.

The Daily Beast describes a tense encounter with a CEO who calls a reporter, threatens to fire his own employee who previously spoke with a reporter for allegedly revealing company secrets, discloses at least one detail about the company’s interior structure that had previously not been public (a widely popular figure who is the face of his successful app is not a full-time employee but working on a contracted), then insists the interview is off the record, and then later pretends he never threatened to fire the employee.

I’m sure this incident will be an example in PR classrooms and possibly discussed on a psychiatrist’s couch for years to come.

[HQ Host] Scott [Rogowsky] agreed to the interview and chatted with The Daily Beast on Monday afternoon. The Daily Beast simultaneously reached out to the HQ public relations email account and Yusupov, one of HQ’s founders, letting him know of our plans to write a story about the show’s host. Several hours later, we received an email from Yusupov stating that HQ was “not making Scott available to discuss his involvement with HQ with the media/press.” The reporter informed Yusupov that we had already interviewed Scott and that the story was nearing publication, but encouraged him to call us with any concerns.That’s when things went off the rails —CEO of HQ, the Hottest App Going: If You Run This Profile, We’ll Fire Our Host