Logan Roy Wouldn’t Look Back: On the rapacious life of Waystar Royco’s patriarch

Apr 10, 2023
Dimitris Passas

NOTE: This article is a republication- Source: Vulture (by Christopher Bonanos).

Logan Roy — CEO, chairman, and founder of Waystar Royco, the glowing radioactive core of the American right-wing-media machine — left this earth as he lived it: at high speed, climate be damned, hurtling toward yet another scheme to make billions of dollars. His heart stopped as his jet raced to a meeting in Sweden, where he intended to conclude a deal with the tech mogul Lukas Mattson that would ensure the company’s future but also take it out of the Roy family’s hands. According to the family’s statement earlier today, he was pronounced dead upon the plane’s return to Teterboro Airport. Although his business faced the usual cable-news problems (aging audience, cord-cutting, an approach to news that is simultaneously elitist and dumbed down), Roy did not exit while caretaking a shrunken empire. Charles Foster Kane ended up physically diminished in his latter days, tended by nurses; Roy, despite a stroke in the summer of 2018 that briefly incapacitated him and provoked what was widely described as a shitshow at the fuck factory, was up on his feet at a charity event within months, slowed but asserting control. Until today, he was fully in charge of ATN — one report had him visiting the newsroom yesterday afternoon, walking the floor looking like (as one employee put it) “Santa Claus if he was a hit man” — and his choice, in recent months, to throw the network’s backing tacitly behind Jeryd Mencken and his nationalist candidacy may yet make the difference in the upcoming presidential election.

Roy was not precisely what you’d call an intellectual, but he was well read, terrifyingly quick on the uptake, and firmly decisive thereafter. His philosophy, in many ways, boiled down to a phrase he was known to fall back on: “I fuckin’ love news.” He maintained an interest in history, reading deeply and collecting rare military medals. (Doing so could be interpreted either as homage or as irony, given that he never served.) Yet he was the type of man who actively refused to look back on his own life unless it served the future. He disliked speaking about his upbringing; a forthcoming book by the journalist Michele Pantsil may reveal more details, as she has reportedly been cultivating current and former employees of Waystar Royco. We do know Roy was born in extremely modest circumstances in Dundee, Scotland, probably in 1938, the youngest child after his siblings Ewan and Rose. His father died early in his life. When Logan was 4, his mother, Helen— no doubt fearing further Nazi bombing in the city — sent the three children to Quebec, where they were raised by their difficult and by some accounts abusive uncle Noah and his wife. Rose died young in an incident the cause of which has been covered up to this day. About the only thing we can say for certain is that Logan remained close enough to his mother to name the journalism school he endowed in his hometown for her.

Noah did, however, leave one legacy to his nephew: He ran a printshop and owned some billboards, and seeing that business seems to have kindled Roy’s taste for getting the news out. Roy would sneer at the thought of a sentimental origin story from his childhood, however: “Rosebud is a dollar bill,” he once said. “It’s whatever it took to get me the fuck out of here.” He certainly was not — unlike Nan Pierce or Arthur Sulzberger Jr. or Donald Graham or most of the other rivals with whom he was occasionally contrasted — born into wealth. That dollar bill first materialized in the newspaper business, and to this day Waystar continues to operate quite a few titles, including the flagship New York Globe, his adopted hometown’s Journal Quebecoise, and the burgeoning Shenzhen Sun.

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