Joshua Wolf Shenk resigns as editor of Believer magazine after flashing staffers during a Zoom call


Joshua Wolf Shenk resigns as editor of the Believer magazine after taking a bath during a Zoom call with staff… then getting out and forgetting to turn off his camera or grab a towel!

  •  The editor-in-chief at Believer magazine and artistic and executive director of the Black Mountain Institute, handed in his resignation after flashing his staff during a February Zoom meeting
  • Shenk was soaking in a bath to relieve nerve pain related to fibromyalgia during the Zoom call
  • When Shenk stood up to charge his computer without turning off the camera or covering the lower half of his body he exposed himself to about a dozen staffers
  • Shenk is the author of the books ‘Lincoln’s Melancholy’ released in 2005 and the 2014 book ‘Powers of Two’ 

Joshua Wolf Shenk, editor-in-chief at Believer magazine and artistic and executive director of the Black Mountain Institute, handed in his resignation after flashing his staff during a Zoom meeting. 

In February, Shenk stood up during a Zoom call and exposed himself to about a dozen staffers from Believer magazine and the Black Mountain Institute, the Los Angeles Times reported. 

Shenk’s literary agent, Ira Silverberg, told the Los Angeles Times that he was soaking in a bath to relieve nerve pain related to fibromyalgia during the Zoom call.  

Shenk had chosen a virtual backdrop to hide his location and was wearing a mesh shirt on top but when he stood up to charge his computer without turning off the camera or covering the lower half of his body he exposed himself to staffers. 

Joshua Wolf Shenk, editor-in-chief at Believer magazine and artistic and executive director of the Black Mountain Institute, handed in his resignation after flashing his staff during a Zoom meeting

Joshua Wolf Shenk, editor-in-chief at Believer magazine and artistic and executive director of the Black Mountain Institute, handed in his resignation after flashing his staff during a Zoom meeting

Joshua Wolf Shenk served as editor-in-chief at Believer magazine (pictured) before resigning

Joshua Wolf Shenk served as editor-in-chief at Believer magazine (pictured) before resigning

On March 24, the publisher of Believer magazine and staff at the of Black Mountain Institute, a literary arts center at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas were informed that Shenk resigned due to the incident, the Los Angeles Times reported.  

Shenk shared the news of his resignation in a farewell letter.

He called the Zoom incident ‘a dumb, reckless choice to disregard appropriate setting and attire for a Zoom meeting. I crossed a line that I can’t walk back over. I sorely regret the harm to you — and, by extension, to the people we serve. I’m sorry.’ he wrote. 

At least two witnesses of the incident reported it to the university’s Office of Equal Employment and Title IX, LA Times reported.

The University dismissed and closed the Title IX complaints when Shenk resigned.  

‘After my lapse in judgment, I decided to resign so that BMI’s work — sparking culture in Southern Nevada, publishing The Believer, and hosting writers persecuted in their home countries — could best continue in their exceptionally capable hands,’ Shenk said in a separate statement to the LA Times.  

Silverberg said that Shenk had already been negotiating a transition in leadership at the institute prior to the incident. 

The university declined to comment, saying it ‘doesn’t discuss personnel matters,’ The Times reported. 

Shenk is the author of the books ‘Lincoln’s Melancholy’ released in 2005 and the 2014 book ‘Powers of Two.’ 



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