To: Chris Johns, Editor of National Geographic
It’s wonderful to hear that Cory Richards is healthy and is walking away from this Everest expedition. I hope he has a joyous reunion with his family.
But when you say “we completely support his decision to put safety first,” it’s worth remembering: Putting safety first should be your first decision, not just Cory’s. You’re the Editor. You have real responsibilities here. You approved this “story” and you’re financing it. None of this would be happening without a green light from you.
And you still have skin in the game, even though it’s not your skin.
In fact, if safety is your primary concern, why don’t you tell the remaining members of the NG team to return home immediately? Why subsidize “the brotherhood of the rope” at all?
You clearly don’t think there’s any compelling scientific excuse for this expedition, or you would have mentioned it here. Your writer, Mark Jenkins, has admitted there’s nothing noble about these climbs. And you know what Bruce Barcott says: “Unlike any other sport, mountaineering demands that its players die.”
Which is why, Chris, it’s imperative to remember this: You’re not a curious bystander with a camera. You’re The Enabler.