Beebo Bids Bye-Bye to Beth

Beth/Beebo wants cuddles!

I’ve contributed to way too many roasts during my tenure at io9/Gizmodo, but I’ve never had to lead one. I knew I couldn’t keep our io9 family together forever but that doesn’t make it hurt any less.

[Note: Roasting ex-employees has been a long GMG tradition. Today I’m hosting the one for io9’s recently exited Beth Elderkin on my personal blog–which I haven’t published on since 2018.]

Where do I even start? How about the very beginning (a very good place to start, I once heard)? Most people don’t know this but when Beth was transitioning to full-time at io9, I was directed to her tweet informing folks the site was looking for a new weekend writer. I was sort of doing my own thing at the time but was looking for a small gig that would bring in some steady bucks. I’d already known Rob Bricken for years at that point and he had tried bringing me into the fold several times but it never worked out for one reason or another. It didn’t then either but he put me in touch with Beth to at least chat out what the job entailed (no two media companies are the same because why would there be any standards ha ha ha—unionize, folks!). The next time we really spoke was when I started getting added to io9 email chains before I officially boarded as Managing Editor. You see, this was right as the team was planning io9’s tenth-anniversary celebration and I could tell right away that Beth loved to organize. I came to learn that when Beth was on a project she always made sure everyone had what they needed to succeed but…oh my GOD the spreadsheets. “Beth has shared with you,” Beth has added you to,” “Beth has shared,” “Beth has shared,” “Beth has shared…”.

Truth be told, Beth and I got off to a bit of a rocky start. I’m not sure if she feels the same way—we’ve never spoken about my early days at io9—but for someone blogging for a living, sometimes it was like pulling teeth getting her to actually blog. I would get unexpectedly challenged when assigning her some random thing because she didn’t watch the show or didn’t see the angle or just thought it was bad. I’d be silently pulling my hair out because it had been an hour since we last posted and “OH MY GOD we just need to get something on the page.” After some time I realized, it wasn’t that Beth didn’t want to blog, it’s that she wanted to blog about teen zombie musicals. Or White House Christmas decoration horror. Or some really, really bad looking movie. Beth just wanted to have fun (how dare she) and, as with all the staff, I slowly came to learn more about who she was and understand her likes, dislikes, and quirks.

For instance, Beth likes to talk. Ok, that’s not a quirk, but when you’re in an office with headphones on, head down, editing, and someone starts speaking to you when Slack is right there, you start to wonder. Speaking of Slack, Beth also had a habit of telling people I “let” her get away with a certain headline or blog. The truth is, I had almost always already made my decision to let her blog the thing she was clearly enthusiastic about (which of course, always, always made for a better end result) but let her continue typing while I took care of some other task. Then I could turn back to the chat, pretend she sold me (by that time I knew her very well and her instincts were almost never wrong), and get her on putting all those words where they should be.

I know, I know this is supposed to be a roast. That’s the best I could do. Truly, it’s hard to roast Beth because she’s one of those “really nice people” you sometimes hear about. I’m already worried I hurt her feelings! She’s an incredibly hard worker who took her time at io9 and really made it count, both in her role as a writer and the editor of io9’s video presence. Along with a great team at her side, she made some truly cool videos for us; from weekly Game of Thrones and Westworld coverage to original deep dives and blessed shipping conversations, Beth always pulled out something amazing from her sleeves.

On the writing side of things, she could surely turn a phrase and she’s the queen of “Wild thing happened, in this essay I will…” Plus, I could always count on her to blog about stuff no one else wanted—like Riverdale or Motherland: Fort Salem (she freaking loves witches). She was also an absolute standout with her gaming coverage for us (Considering how much RPGs and tabletop gaming were a part of Beth’s presence here on io9, it’s very odd I never played a game with her. Let’s schedule a date!) Remember that time she got Andrzej Sapkowski to say some truly wild shit about Netflix’s adaptation of The Witcher? Or that time I told her to absolutely, positively not ask about the bathtub at SDCC and she did anyway? Beth could hit the obvious stuff, sure, but it was really some of her more outside-the-box pitches that I loved. Like when she dug into the secret lost ending of Quantum Leap. And while the headline and top photo on this post is probably obvious enough, her love for Legends of Tomorrow knows no bounds.

It must also be said: she can serve looks like nobody’s business.

Besides all the laughs and puns she gave us over the years, she also tackled some really heavy topics with grace and respect. All of us at this company have been struggling for a while with how to work within some incredibly limiting boundaries that have only gotten more limiting as time went on. Even with those hurdles, Beth managed to do some incredible work on something I’ve wanted for io9 since I started here: investigative reporting. It’s not easy, it’s not quick, and it’s almost never appreciated as much as it should be, but it’s important and Beth believed in it. She knocked it out of the park not once but twice. I’m forever grateful.

I could go on and on about the outstanding work Beth did here but well, we’ve gotten to the point where there are tears clouding my vision again so I’ll end here and let others take it away. The classic Gizmodo sendoff is “Bye, bitch” but that feels very wrong for Beth. So for now I’ll just say, “See you later, pal.”



Germain Lussier, film reporter, io9

Beth, I’m very sad to see you go for all the reasons one would expect. You’re smart, talented, great to work with, always full of ideas. Just an excellent friend and colleague. But really, I’m most sad because you know Dune inside and out and now I’m probably going to have to cover Dune and I have no idea what the hell is going on with Dune. What’s a dune? There are worms? Is spice actually tasty? Is Zendaya Meechee? I’m so lost and was really looking forward to your coverage. Just as I’m looking forward to seeing you thrive in the future with your beautiful family and exciting new job. Best of luck.

Charles Pulliam-Moore, staff writer, io9

I hate to say it; I hope I don’t sound ridiculous. I don’t know who this woman is. I mean, she could be walking down the street, and I wouldn’t…well, I wouldn’t know a thing. Sorry to this woman.

Cheryl Eddy, News Editor, io9

I’m certain that others will mention Beth’s investigative journalism skills, her fondness for fairy tales (Josie and the Pussycats totally counts), her enviably poised on-camera presence, the fact that she physically cannot watch gory horror movies (but still digs the horror genre!), and her curiously enduring obsession with Beebo. So I’ll add to that “slays at karaoke” with a warning never to challenge her in some kind of sing-off, because you will lose.

James Whitbrook, news editor, io9

It’s hard to think of one memory that defines working with Beth, things that could, for any lesser acoylte of Beebo, could be all manners of frustration. Her desire to doggedly chase the weirdest stories to a fault, knowing with all good sense they’d turn out great. Her love of roping as many—as many—of us into group projects as she could think of, because she was always the biggest ideas person around. Her love of opening every Chilling Age of Sabrina blog headline she wrote with “Hail Satan!”, no matter how many times she’d done that before it. Her ability to, in spite of many reminders, to just jump into io9’s slack without reading a word of what came before her, keeping us all on our toes as she caught up on everything she missed. Hell, having to cover the last season of Game of Thrones? I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy and yet Beth corralled us into discussion posts, video ideas (remember when we had a video team?), theory breakdowns when we still thought literally anything about that season would matter. She made the best of whatever Benioff and Weiss could throw at a person, and that alone is an honorable merit.

Maybe that’s what I’ll remember about working with Beth most—her ability to be in her element no matter the shitstorm around her, whether it was the silly blogs or the big blogs. The one week I have been in an office with literally any of the people I work with at io9 was the week her Vic Mignona investigation ran on the site back in 2019. I was sitting next to her, pretending I knew how to work in an office environment when it published—and I remember her anxiety over whether she’d got the right angles, whether all the i’s and t’s were dotted and crossed, whether or not his fanbase would target her. But I also remember her excitement, her pride, even as she tried to play it cool as I congratulated her on it finally getting on the site. In her element, at the heart of a shitstorm. Beebo couldn’t ask for a better servant, praise be to his name.

Autumn Kelly, social editor, io9/Gizmodo/Earther

Beth, you’re truly too delightful of a human being to roast. I could say lots of good things about you, like how thoughtful of a person you are, how I’ve learned so much working with you, and how you always put good one-liners for social in your blogs… except since this is supposed to be a roast, you have left me no choice but to leave you with a GIF.

Julie Muncy, Former Weekend Editor, Current Keyboard Concierge

Being the Weekend Editor is a lonely job. You have to keep the site running, every weekend, virtually by yourself. It’s a lot of responsibility. One side effect of this job is that, when you do see the weekday crew log on, it normally means something has gone wrong. As such, Beth, who trained me in the job, teaching me a bunch of best practices that I’m sure I forgot, was as much a colleague as she was person I only saw when I did something wrong.

I remember one time… Uh. Hm. I don’t actually have any good stories for this. Truth be told, I’m not really the roasting type. Beth was a gracious teacher and a kind presence. As someone who left G/O Media due to burnout and the creeping realization that there was absolutely no viable future for me there, I’m deeply sympathetic to and supportive of Beth’s departure and the most I can do is accuse her of being a copycat for going into the video game industry. I wish her all the best.

I mean. Uh. Fuck you, Beth. Eat shit. Or something.

Therese McPhereson, Creative video producer & animator

Beth!

I want to roast her but it might end up sounding more like a toast. Let me try anyway.

Basically, the worst thing about her is her absolutely perfect voice-over game. She was practically born to read from a teleprompter and it annoys me how perfectly she makes witty comments with strong eye contact directly into camera B.

She is the best host a video producer could ask for and I hate it.

Thank you for years of ruining videos by wearing nice jackets and matching your hair to io9 branding. If it weren’t for Beth and her hard work I could have gone home early, but no—instead she works on a perfect schedule and we all get out on time. So that we can stay after hours for board games… nerds. Io9 isn’t going to miss Beth at all. Neither will the video team. Nope. Not at all. ‘holds back tears’ NOT AT ALL. Eat shit Beth, with a cherry on top.

Alex Cranz, managing editor, The Verge

I heard she had a baby.

Andrew Couts, interim editor-in-chief, Gizmodo

Anytime I try to write one of these goddamn roasts, I just end up making fun of myself and saying nice things about the person I’m supposed to be roasting. So this time, I’m just going to skip the saying nice things and leave the mean stuff to people who are better at this than I am: Beth is a unique talent, capable of biting analysis, investigative reporting on highly sensitive stories, with a gravitational on-camera presence. Her contributions to io9 and Gizmodo as a whole are, frankly, immeasurable. The only bad thing I can say about her is that her infant son makes my dogs look far less cute by comparison, which I don’t appreciate at all. You will be sorely missed, Beth! Good luck in navigating the South.

Dharna Noor, staff writer, Earther

Beth, I’m so stoked to see what you do next. Also just because we don’t work together doesn’t mean I’m not going to hit you up when Dune comes out! –

Rob Bricken, former editor-in-chief, io9 (now, a layabout)

The shittiest part about hiring Beth full-time was losing the best weekend editor the site ever had. Also, when videos rolled around I didn’t so much put Beth in charge of them as much as I used her as a human shield to protect myself from having to deal with them. I think she’d agree with that, though.

Marina Galperina, features editor at Gizmodo

I will remember Beth as a warrior and a treasure, both as a sensitive, inspired journalist and critic, and a righteous and fiery fellow union bargaining committee rep. She is one of my favorite nerds I’ve ever met and her lucky kid will be immersed in delightful weirdness. I hope she starts a band again and channels her media experience thus far into pointed lyrics and melodious screeching. I would go see this band.

Bryan Menegus, former news editor, Gizmodo

I’m still kicking myself that it took five entire years to work with you on a story. Congratulations again on a great run, and on successfully talent-scouting the first cast member for Gizmodo: The Next Generation.

Myra Iqbal, former video producer

Beth, I’ll always remember the comic con madness as one of my favorite times at giz and you were such a big part of it. It was an absolute joy working with you! Thank you for all the fun stories and for your kindness as a colleague. I wish you the best in your adventures ahead and of course the biggest adventure of them all: motherhood! Sending you much love.

Eleanor Fye, former video producer, gizmodo / io9 / earther

It’s truly a shame that all the work Beth put in on io9’s Game of Thrones video coverage was in service of the worst TV show finale of all time. David Benioff and D.B. Weiss manage, as always, to ruin everything they put their grubby little hands on. That pair of failsons retroactively tarnished the work of women they’d never even met, which is… honestly, almost impressive.

Beth is nothing if not a talented and tenacious journalist. Her exhaustively-researched expose on Vic Mognogna led to real change for the voice acting community. She was thrown curveball after curveball while reporting it, and I remember feeling deeply glad that someone as persistent as Beth was pursuing it. Whatever she does next will be interesting, for sure!

Katharine Trendacosta, Associate Director of Policy and Activism, Electronic Frontier Foundation (former managing editor, io9)

I still remember the first time Beth visited the io9 office in New York. She and I were walking from the subway to a bar and she leaned in close and asked, in a whisper, “What’s with all the trash bags on the street?” In that moment, I knew. This was not someone who belonged in New York City. A true New Yorker would not blink at the city’s quaint tradition of just piling trash in bags on the sidewalk, occasionally forgetting about them when it snows, and inviting rats to a party. I hadn’t been born and raised in New York, but I had never once questioned the garbage. It just seemed right.

And truly, Beth’s tendency to question the presence of garbage is probably why she cannot stay in New York or at G/O Media any longer. Fly free, whatever the opposite of pizza rat is.

Joanna Nelius, Senior Editor, Electronics at Reviewed, part of the USA TODAY network

Beth, I’m terrible at roasting people. I’m sure everyone else is going to say super clever and witty things, but I only have nice things to say. I don’t think I ever properly thanked you for putting those tabletop RPG sessions together. I had a blast, and they couldn’t have come at a better time. You made me feel welcome and at home so soon after I joined the Gizmodo team, and I’ll be forever grateful. io9 is losing one hell of a reporter, but I know you’ll continue to kick butt where ever you land next! Live long and prosper!

Shoshana Wodinsky, staff reporter

I’m sorry you had to be privy to the weird convos you undoubtedly overheard while our cubicles were… right next to each other. That said, please keep sharing those good good pics of your baby in those good good hats wherever possible.

Matthew Reyes, video producer

I remember the time when Beth checked me from hooting and hollering at the original Sarah Connor, the great Linda Hamilton, during a red carpet event at Comic Con. She saw it coming, the wide eyed fandomness from me that everyone has when they see a popular thespian in the flesh.” We don’t do that here,” she said softly yet stern. I wasn’t mad at all, yet more so in awe of her. She held journalistic integrity and professionalism above all, and not releasing her fandomness—which she has in spade—in any shape or form in front of the camera with anyone in the industry, even in front of THE Terminator Killer herself. I learned a lot that day. And I thank Beth for that.

And to Beth, io9 isn’t be the same without your presence. I hate goodbyes, so i’ll end on this: I’ll see you later.

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