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July 15, 2022 1:00 PM PDT

Lulu Cheng Meservey isn’t your typical corporate flack. The Washington, D.C.-based head of communications for Substack, a digital newsletter platform, Meservey is brash and outspoken online—far more so than the company’s founders. Her pre-PR background included a short stint on Wall Street and working for one of former President Bill Clinton’s chiefs of staff. And she recently joined the board of Activision Blizzard, the scandal-plagued gaming company that is trying to sell itself to Microsoft for $69 billion.

So when we met by Zoom earlier this week, I wondered if Meservey was at all chagrined by the recent turn of events at Substack, which laid off 14% of its staff, or 13 people, in June. The move came only a month after The New York Times questioned Substack’s staying power, which led Meservey to issue one of the funniest blow-offs to a press inquisition I’ve ever seen: “My comment is,” she told The Times.

Given that there are a meager six listings on Substack’s jobs site today, does Meservey regret her salty response? “No. If it weren’t tone deaf, I would say the same thing now,” she said. “I would love for your article to say again. Because the jobs that we are looking to fill are different. And they’re fewer. But we want to fill them just as badly, if not more.”

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