NOn Friday, October 27th, it became public that two members of the Teresina Forum they had left the podcast bench. The news caused a huge uproar on social media, and Piauí was accused of two unacceptable behaviors: dismissing professionals without any reason and carrying out “acts of censorship”. In view of this, the magazine understood that it had to publicly explain – to the listeners of the Forummagazine subscribers and website visitors – which actually happened.
In May 2019, journalist Thais Bilenky was hired to report on politics for the magazine and website, based in Brasília. In January 2021, when journalist Malu Gaspar left the Piauí to work at the newspaper The globe, I invited Thais to take over Malu’s position at the Forum, without prejudice to previous activities.
Seven months later, Thais had to spend time in São Paulo, her hometown. At the time, August 2021, we agreed that, as soon as possible, she would resume her post in Brasília. The arrangement, which was supposed to be provisional, ended up being perpetuated, contrary to what the magazine had planned. To this were added issues of an internal nature to the magazine, the details of which were Piauí reserves the right not to publish it publicly, both because it is the prerogative of any press organization and to preserve the privacy of its professionals. Suffice it to say that, despite the talent and correctness of good reporters – and Thais has such attributes, as was evident, for example, in the recent podcast Alexander –, newsrooms change the composition of their professional staff to meet the dynamics of events and the sector itself.
On the morning of Tuesday, October 24th, in a conversation in the newsroom in Rio de Janeiro, Thais left the company. Piauí and, consequently, also the Forum. I offered her the space to say goodbye to the podcast listeners in any way she deemed appropriate. I then informed his two bench colleagues of his departure, Fernando de Barros e Silva and José Roberto de Toledo. At night, Thais informed me that she had spoken to them and decided to just say goodbye, without participating in the rest of the episode. I agreed and thanked him.
Two days later, on Thursday morning, the episode of the week was recorded, now with the presence of journalist Ana Clara Costa. The recording went smoothly, although in an atmosphere of consternation due to Thais’s departure. Late Thursday afternoon, Thais recorded her farewell in the presence of her two colleagues. Forum. Excited, she gave an elegant and professional statement. I wrote to her to thank her.
However, as soon as Thais finished his farewell, Toledo took the floor and announced that he was resigning at that very moment in protest against his colleague’s departure, about which he had been informed two days earlier. He later wrote on social media that Thais’ dismissal was “unjustified”, even though he was unaware of the company’s internal affairs. Piauí since July 2022. At that time, Toledo asked me to leave the Piauí and remain only as a member of the Forum, with which I agreed. Since then, he has worked on the Uol portal.
When I heard the recording of the surprise dismissal, I advised that the excerpt not be included in the episode. As announced, without warning to management and ignoring normal procedures, Toledo’s dismissal merely used the magazine’s platform to target the magazine itself. Furthermore, it overshadowed the departure of Thais, to whom attention should have been focused at that moment.
Considering the exclusion of the excerpt as an act of “censorship”, that very serious word, is to ignore that the Piauí, as is typical of the professional press, has the elementary prerogative of only producing and publishing – on its podcasts, networks, pages and website – content that is not an outrage against itself. Loyal criticism, even if harsh, is welcome, as the countless readers who have already published in Piauí highly unfavorable opinions of the magazine.
It is clear that any professional has the right to resign for any reason and at any time. Members who left the Forum – whether voluntarily or not – they always acted professionally, saying goodbye to listeners without any interference from the magazine’s management. It happened before with Malu Gaspar. It just happened to Thais Bilenky.
And, unfortunately, another farewell happens here again. Now, from his own Teresina Forum, which is ending its activities after five and a half years. A Piauí assesses that the conditions for the Forum continue operating as before. This Friday, Fernando de Barros e Silva, who remains at the magazine where he was previously editorial director, will say goodbye in what will be the final act of the podcast.
Finally, the Piauí regrets that the end of the partnership with Thais, conducted and received with civility, caused, when it reached social media, an undue public exposure of his professional life. To her, to Piauí Thank you for your work and wish you good luck and success.