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What Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has against Gwyneth Paltrow

Gwyneth Paltrow
Reuters/Lucas Jackson
She’ll never work for Yahoo, but we can’t rule out a starring role in a future Marissa Mayer biopic.
By Svati Kirsten Narula
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Say what you will about Gwyneth Paltrow, the Oscar-winning actress-turned-cookbook author: Cringe-worthy as the language in her Goop emails may be, she’s an accomplished woman and has established herself as enough of a ”lifestyle guru” to warrant (snarky) Martha Stewart comparisons.

It seems this wasn’t enough to merit her consideration as a contributing editor to Yahoo’s food portal.

Paltrow’s lack of a bachelor’s degree is apparently what disqualified her from a job at Yahoo, according to Business Insider reporter Nicholas Carlson.

In his new book, Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo!, which is excerpted in this week’s New York Times magazine, Carlson writes that Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer cares very much about her employees’ educational pedigrees. Mayer “balked” at hiring Paltrow as a contributing editor to Yahoo Food, according to the book, because she “disapproved of the fact that Paltrow did not graduate college.” (Yahoo has no comment on the matter; Quartz also has reached out to Paltrow’s representatives at Goop and will update if they get back to us with a response.)

Paltrow, after completing high school at New York’s posh Spence School in 1990, started college at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Two biographies of Paltrow suggest that she gained admission to UCSB only because the actor Michael Douglas, an alumnus and friend of the Paltrow family, lobbied on her behalf. She dropped out after a year, with her father’s blessing, to pursue acting full-time.

After graduating from a public high school in 1993, Mayer, having been accepted at all 10 colleges she applied to, went to Stanford University. Mayer is known for personally reviewing every individual that Yahoo hires, and her preference for graduates of prestigious institutions has generated complaints.

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